Oct 8 2007

I really really hate what they are doing to SCENIC Highway 411S. Look at all these requests slated to be heard tomorrow night (and is a new trick being tried in subdividing to get more commercial property? See request #2). I'm telling ya, a trip to the Planning Commission is like winning the real estate lottery if you get your way:

TENNESSEE, from Suburbanizing to Rural Arterial Commercial at 4004 Hwy
411 South, tax map 90 part of parcel 87.01. The request is for the first 250
feet of the property starting from the Highway right of way.

TENNESSEE, from Rural District 1 to Rural Arterial Commercial for
property located at 5005 Hwy 411 South, tax map 100 part of parcel 22.01.
The request is for a 1.56 acre lot divided from the original 9.6 acre tract.

TENNESSEE, from Rural District 1 to Rural Arterial Commercial at 106
Pearle Drive, tax map 89L- group A- parcel 24.

TENNESSEE, from Rural District 1 to Rural Arterial Commercial at 6102
Hwy 411 South, tax map 110 parcel 1.

TENNESSEE, from Rural District 1 to Rural Arterial Commercial at 5037
Hwy 411 South, tax map 100 parcel 22.

*UPDATE*: All of the above rezonings, including the one apparently built out-of-zone under pretense of being a house, were granted approval by our County Commission on 10/18/07. No concern about setting a precedent (unless that's what they intended to do) or establishing a greater plan; or even implementing the plan we already bought and paid for: The Hunter Strategy for Growth in Blount County.


Written public comments

Written public comments would be a fine thing to have for local zoning requests. The state allows this and the county should too. As it is now you have to go to all three hearings and keep saying the same thing over and over again. Yet they still don't listen.

Working mom and pops just don't have the time to go to all three hearings and then the Commission vote.

I keep getting the feeling that Hwy 411 South is going to be sacrificed to the development gods so that Townsend can be protected. Call it Blount County Turf Wars.

411 South has always been commercial

Before the Interstate, 411 was the main highway to Georgia, it once had plenty of commercial businesses to support the traffic, which was bumper to bumper. I have no problem with commercial progress, provided it's not like Pigeon Forge with all the bright light and signs. As far as Townsend, they put regulations in place over 25 years ago to control this expansion which was predicted over 25 years ago.

You should have planned regulations long before developers purchased the property with the intentions of commercial businesses.

411 S always commercial?

I've got to disagree with you here. It was largely agricultural out beyond the Urban Growth Boundary which is the ONLY area that RAC (Rural Arterial Commercial) Zoning applies. You might have found the odd little gas station here and there between Georgia, but not HUNDREDS of metal buildings housing industrial uses; some of which would fit better in our industrial parks. Remember, there is no sewage service out there and no plan for there ever to be any. The entire area outside the Urban Growth Boundary is along 411S is Rural District 1. By definition of state law, anything beyond the Planned Boundary between Maryville and the County IS Rural. It is actually possible that the RAC is in violation of Public Chapter 1101. I'm guessing it certainly was in its original rendition.

Look at everything that is wrong with Alcoa Highway (also known as "I'll killya" Highway) and tell me what is different about what is going on in Hwy. 411S? The Hunter Strategy recommended AGAINST commercializing along our corridors into the area. I don't feel sorry for the developers you've mentioned who bought these low density properties and expect to get them rezoned. They are SPECULATING and they know they are taking a chance when they do it. The RAC designation is not a promise to anyone owning land out there. There's a reason our Zoning Body is an elected one. They start handing out favors to their friends and there can be repercussions that way. Again I say, have the right contacts on the Commission (or at the Mayor's office) and this Zoning thing is like the gosh darn lottery.

411 S in 1963 was commercial

In 1963 there were hundreds of businesses from Maryville to Georgia. From Foothills Mall to the Blount County Line 411 South had at least three truck stops, 11 restaurants, 7 motels, numerous gift shops and gas stations, in 1963.

Investors owned property that was zoned commercial when the zoning board declared all property in some areas was now residential. This was not speculating, it was commercial zoned property with businesses operating when it was rezoned. The zoning board knows it can't win these in court, so why try.

I don't like Alcoa Hwy, and I don't like what is happening to 411 South. This progress was forecasted years ago and only Townsend enacted regulations to control the growth. With the traffic increasing every day on 411 the citizens will start demanding changes in zoning so there driving time to groceries and shopping decreases. So start planning now, it will happen, supply will meet demand.

At good start would be green buffers next to the road, trees in parking lots, trees between each business lot, smaller parking lots, smaller signs without back lighting, full cutoff lighting, and building setbacks are a few rules other towns have set to improve there town.

If you think zoning has it protected, and there is no need to regulate, then don't get upset when when 411 is so bright at midnight it can be seen for a 100 miles. Of course when this happens you can always move to Townsend where the wise planned ahead.

Help me understand this. In

Help me understand this.

In 2000 / 2001 Blount County finally got zoning regulations. Under those terms, complete with public hearings anyone who had a commercial business could continue to use said property for that- commercial.

If someone owned large tracts of land out there at the time zoning regulations were created and they were not then commercial, now they can't be rezoned without major hassle.

Is that not what defines land speculation?

The fact that the County is 17 years or so behind Townsend should not mean that the county should simply forget zoning.

I understand the concept of property rights. It not only protects me from what you want to do next door but it also protects you from what I or others might want to do.

Should I be allowed to get permission to build a home on my lot and build a McDonald's instead? Should I then expect the County to grant me permission to have McD's on my lot for no other reason than I have already built it? I mean, geeze, it is there already so what am I to do?

Commercial property

When zoning went into effect, commercial operations in residential zones could continue to operate, but were still zoned residential. If a business was in a residential zone, it could not rebuild at the same location. If the building was vacant for a period of time, it could not reopen a business. This was not land speculation, this was commercial businesses that could not remodel, rebuild after the building was destroyed, and could not sell as commercial property. This has been to court many times before, and zoning has usually lost.

Townsend is what it is today because of zoning and building codes. I grew up near a grocery store, restaurant, gas station, and shopping center. None of these businesses had the million watts of night lights you see today, and everyone seem to being close to shopping. I wish I could walk two or three blocks and shop for most of my needs, without being kept awake by bright lights, and noise.

411 South is commercial in Blount County, and that will be difficult to stop. You can put building codes into effect than would blend with residential areas. Visit the Lake Tahoe website and look at there building codes. If Blount County had building codes similar to Lake Tahoe, then commercial zones would look better than some new residential in Blount today.

I think what you are saying... that businesses operating in what became residential areas could continue to operate as "nonconforming use" after the advent of the Zoning Laws. But to clarify, those businesses WERE permitted to expand, unless the use changed for a period of 2 years or more and THEN tried to expand as a "nonconforming use." The use simply discontinued after 2 years and it reverted back to a residential use.

Yet, you still have a person or two down on 411S who claim all sorts of things (like expansion of nonconforming use) and usually get their way, even though frequently they use the additional building for some new business entirely and boot the old one. It's a shell game.

Thanks for helping me explain

At least one property owner retired and closed his business, but kept his machinery stored in the building. When the family listed the property, they learned it was residential. Since it was once commercial and they were still paying commercial property taxes, they got it rezoned to commercial, but not without a fight.

Once again, I have seen some great looking industrial parks, but none in this area. I remember passing through a town in North Carolina several years ago, and noticed industrial buildings were hidden from view. All the buildings were hidden by a buffer of trees about 100 feet deep from the street. There signs were ground level with down lighting and designed similar to sings in the Smokies. Look at Broadway in downtown Maryville, it's commercial and would be a great area to live in.

The point I'm trying to make is, commercial areas don't have to look bad. If strict building codes were in place, commercial areas would be better excepted in residential areas. It would also reduce highway traffic, if retail businesses were closer to home.

Re: Written Comments

Hello everyone,

I thought it might be helpful to share some information regarding "written comments". When you speak at a commission meeting (public hearing, etc.), bring a typed, signed copy of your remarks that includes the date and your printed name. Before you speak, ask that your remarks be entered into the public record. After you speak, hand the extra copy to Rhonda Pitts, commission secretary (or her designee), and your request will be fulfilled. Though all commission meetings are video taped, public hearings are not. Having a copy of your remarks added to the record is one way to ensure your thoughts are recorded in the written record.

Hope that helps.

Wendy Pitts Reeves, L.C.S.W.
Blount County Commissioner, District 4, Seat C

The OCt 9 Special Commission meeting

Let's look at this in a different light.

At the Special Called Commission Meeting Oct 9, 2007 an attempt was made to have the Tax Assessor um, do his job.

From TCA regarding how values are determined 67-5-601. General policy — Legislative findings. —

(a) The value of all property shall be ascertained from the evidence of its sound, intrinsic and immediate value, for purposes of sale between a willing seller and a willing buyer without consideration of speculative values, and when appropriate, subject to the provisions of the Agricultural, Forest and Open Space Land Act of 1976, codified in part 10 of this chapter.

Commissioner French put forth a resolution to have the TA follow this code. The result would have been that property which has been zoned from non commercial to commercial would be taxed as commercial regardless of the fact that it has not been developed.

It goes to that 'immediate value' designation in the code.

The Commission voted the resolution down.

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