Maryville planning commissioners have unanimously approved a preliminary plan to extend a small road called Partnership Parkway with expectations there will be more industrial development at Partnership Park South off U.S. Highway 321 in west Maryville.

The request comes from the Blount Partnership and the land there, more than 160 acres, is owned by the Blount County Industrial Board.

“The purpose of the plat is to further the development of the industrial park,” notes on the request state. “The extension of the road would provide access to the property and potential future subdivision.”

The extension would be around 2,000 feet of road — from the termination of the currently exiting Partnership Parkway — ending in a cul-de-sac and nearly connecting to West Odell Lane.

There was a small problem with approving this request, however.

Maryville’s subdivision regulations restrict roads ending in cul-de-sacs to 550 feet. That law doesn’t distinguish between industrial, commercial and residential roads.

So commissioners had two options. They could conclude there was “no alternative option” for development in the area or they could grant a variance to the law.

They decided Monday to grant the variance after speaking with Civil & Environmental Consultants (CEC) engineer Matt Sprinkle and Blount Partnership Director of Economic Development Lauren Emert about the project. CEC completed the designs for the partnership.

Sprinkle told commissioners other concepts have been considered, but “based on anticipated future growth,” this was the best option based on how the land was going to be divided.

Planning Commissioner and Maryville Vice Mayor Fred Metz asked about the size of lots that will potentially connect to this extension.

“We have potential projects coming in place that will take up a large amount of acres,” Emert told commissioners. “We don’t do anything smaller than 5 acres and generally try to stick to 20-plus acres.”

“I think for an industrial setting, this doesn’t really give me a lot of heartburn,” Metz said following Emert’s explanation of planned development. City Manager and Planning Commissioner Greg McClain later noted this law was meant for more residential settings.

Commissioners noted it was a good idea to not connect the extension to Odell Lane since the area might one day be home to heavy, industrial-type traffic.

Such a connection is theoretically possible, however, City Planner Jordan Clark noted. If leadership sees the need for it in the future, they can do it. “It’s a question of should a connection be made there,” Clark said. “(Odell is) a residential street.”

Though the partnership hinted at several developments going at Partnership Park South, they didn’t mention any entities by name.

When asked if the partnership could name any developments, Blount Partnership Communications Director Jeff Muir emailed, “Blount Partnership continues to recruit new companies to fill its industrial parks and this road project only aids in the process to make the area more attractive to investors.”

Follow @arjonesreports on Facebook and Twitter for more from city government reporter Andrew Jones.

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