Blount planners OK commercial campground proposal again
By Joel Davis | (email@example.com)
The Blount County Planning Commission on Thursday took another stab at recommending a proposal to allow commercial campgrounds to be built in the residential R-1 zone. It unanimously voted to recommend the proposal to the Blount County Commission for a fourth time.
County commissioners punted the proposed zoning amendment back to the Planning Commission for the third time in November. Planning Commissioner Clifford Walker chaired an ad hoc committee tasked to revise the proposal to address the concerns of the County Commission.
“We tried to look at everything as open-mindedly as possible,” he said.
The proposal has been the subject of much criticism from concerned citizens. The ad hoc committee attempted to address those concerns.
As originally revised, the resolution would have allowed campgrounds to be built up to 5,000 feet down roads that directly intersect with those specified in the proposed regulations. These include generally the U.S. Highway 411 North corridor leading to Maryville, U.S. Highway 321 corridor leading to Townsend, and the U.S. Highway 129 corridor leading to Tallassee.
It would also allow campgrounds down roads that directly intersect with Old Tuckaleechee Road around the southern boundary of Townsend, Old Walland Highway from intersection with Ellejoy Road to intersection with Six Mile Road to intersection with Happy Valley Road.
Stucky expressed concern about distance. “I would ask the committee why it stayed with 5,000 feet?”
“(If you go down to 2,500 feet), you’re really eliminating a lot of good property that would be good for a campground,” Walker said.
After discussion, the Planning Commission amended the proposal down to 3,000 feet.
The revised regulations would allow recreational vehicles to camp at a campground for up to 210 days. The campgrounds could be built on a minimum 10-acre plot.
Other parts of the regulation would allow recreational vehicles to be stored on the campground property. The number of stored vehicles could not exceed 50 percent of total number of campsites.
Some new requirements were added by the ad hoc committee. The proposal would require that any campground site plan shall include a buffer along all side and rear property boundaries: “The buffer shall be a solid fence 8 feet in height or an evergreen hedge with ultimate height of 12 feet and a planted height of at least 36 inches.”
The proposal would require that cabin, tent and RV campsites all be set back at least 25 feet from any stream bank and at least 50 feet from the bank of the Little River.
Currently, commercial campgrounds cannot be built in the R-1 zones, but they can be built in the Suburbanizing, Commercial and R-2 Zones with the granting of a special exception. There are currently no design standards for campgrounds in county regulations.
In other business, the Planning Commission again deferred consideration of a request to close a right-of-way in Woodthrush Subdivision as staff searches for further legal clarification.
The situation is murky because county has never developed the right-of-way. “We do not have the right to give the property to anybody,” Stucky said.
Lamb advised that more research was needed because it did not seem the county had any legal interest in the matter.
Two public hearings were held during the meeting. The first was a public hearing on an amendment to subdivision regulations concerning private common driveway improvements. No members of the public spoke. The Planning Commission voted unanimously to recommend the change.
The second, a public hearing on a proposal to rezone property at 2884 W. Alexander Parkway from S-Surburbanizing to C-Commercial, also brought no comment. The measure was recommended for approval.