Rezoning for Blackberry approved
By Joel Davis | (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The Blount County Commission on Thursday approved a zoning amendment tied in with Blackberry Farm’s future plans for capital expansion.
The Planned Rural Resort Zoning District will simplify the planning and zoning requests that Blackberry Farm, located in Walland, has to make when seeking to expand. The resort has not specified its expansion plans.
Commissioner Tab Burkhalter made the motion to approve the amendment. Commissioner Peggy Lambert seconded. There was no discussion. Commissioners voted for the measure unanimously.
The area for the zone is limited to land adjacent to or directly accessible from West Millers Cove Road containing R-1-zoned land and any adjacent R-2-zoned land integral to a planned concept. The minimum area to be rezoned would be 40 acres.
Prior to the meeting, the commission held a public hearing on the proposal. The sole audience member to speak alluded to the potential for problems caused by increased traffic related to Blackberry Farm employees driving on West Miller’s Cove Road. “It’s just a disaster waiting to happen,” she said. “We’re very concerned.”
Planning Director John Lamb previously said that amendment was inspired by problems that Blackberry Farm was having as a conforming use in an R-1 zone, which were affecting its operations and expansion.
Prior to the meeting, Lamb answered questions from audience members apparently concerning what would happen if entities other than Blackberry Farm applied for the zoning.
“They are still going to have 20 percent open space,” Lamb said. “They are going to have to meet all the requirements.”
The regulations require 20 percent of open space on the properties, which could incorporate agricultural uses, including working farm facilities and farming and agricultural activities.
In other business, commissioners approved three budget increases, including approval of the County Clerk’s Office to use $19,800 from its reserve funds for purchasing scanning equipment and signature pads to improve workflow.
The commission also voted to allow the Circuit Court Clerk’s Office to spend $70,028 from its reserve funds for new court software, equipment and training.
In addition, commissioners voted to rezone property located at 6250 Paul Boone Road from R-2 to R-1.
“Is there adequate infrastructure to support this rezoning?” Burkhalter asked prior to the vote.
Building Commissioner Roger Fields said: “You still couldn’t make a major subdivision off of it as it doesn’t meet those standards.”
The only benefit is that the owner would be able to split off a smaller tract than permitted in the R-2 zone, Fields said.