Commercial campground rules bounced back to planners
By Joel Davis | (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Call it zoning amendment pingpong.
Blount County Commission, sitting as the Agenda Committee on Tuesday, voted to boot a proposal to allow commercial campgrounds to be built in the residential R-1 zone back to the county planning commission for a fourth time.
During a scheduled public hearing on the proposal prior to the meeting, Commissioner Jim Folts raised a point of order, pointing out that the text of the resolution included in the commission’s informational packets did not match the resolution that it had previously voted to consider.
In June, the planning commission revised a resolution to allow campgrounds to be built up to 3,000 feet down roads that directly intersect with those specified in the proposed regulations — down from 5,000 feet. These include generally the U.S. Highway 411 North corridor leading to Maryville, East Lamar Alexander Parkway corridor leading to Townsend, and the U.S. Highway 129 corridor leading to Tallassee.
The resolution in the packet for Tuesday’s meetings, however, included language establishing the requirement at 5,000 feet as well as other discrepancies. “I don’t see how we can be setting a precedent to allow major changes.”After a short recess, Agenda Committee Chairman Gary Farmer agreed and canceled the public hearing. “It is a valid point, and this public hearing will not occur.”The proposal has been the subject of much criticism from concerned citizens. The resolution would allow campgrounds down roads that directly intersect with Old Tuckaleechee Road around the southern boundary of Townsend and Old Walland Highway from its intersection with Ellejoy Road to its intersection with Six Mile Road to the intersection with Happy Valley Road.
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.Prior to going into its regular meeting, the Agenda Committee changed leadership by electing Commissioner Tab Burkhalter as committee chairman. Farmer, who had served for several years, wished to step aside and was given a round of applause by commissioners.
Finally, during the Agenda Committee meeting proper, commissioners voted unanimously to send the proposal back to the planning commission to address the discrepancy.
In other business, the Agenda Committee voted to decide during the regular County Commission meeting on Sept. 20 whether to stay out of the future business of the Blount County Children’s Home.
Burkhalter has brought forward a resolution that would, if approved, remove the county mayor and the County Commission from involvement in appointing members of the board of directors. This would eliminate the requirement for audits and financial reports concerning the Children’s Home to be included with county financial statements as it is not a governmental entity.