store developer Johnny James is back on track after a land snafu
that had threatened the entire project was cleared.
The City of Loudon
Board of Zoning Appeals Wednesday approved a setback variance
for 5 feet, paving the way for James to proceed toward obtaining
a Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission liquor license, and
begin work on his building at Centre 75 Business Park.
James said he met opposition when he sought the setback
variance, both from Russ Newman, city planner, and the adjacent
property owner, Jack Sims, owner of Taco Bell. However, the
board voted unanimously to grant the setback variance. The
motion of Carlie McEachern, seconded by Jimmy Greenwood, was to
grant the requested variance on the side opposite Kentucky Fried
Chicken and Taco Bell.
“I was surprised that Russ was so adamant that he did not want
me to get the variance,” James said later. “Unless you got a
tape measure and put it to it, you would never know.” Newman
could not be reached for comment Friday.
The Loudon City Council had awarded a certificate of compliance
to James March 16. The problem with the proposed site plan
emerged the following week. The plan, upon which the certificate
of compliance was predicated, included a setback of 10 feet.
Zoning regulations require a setback of 15 feet.
James said he had been prepared to purchase the additional
footage needed, for $20,000. However, at the Loudon County
Economic Development Agency meeting, Loudon County Mayor Doyle
Arp had said the purchase of additional footage would require
prior approval by the Loudon County Commission. Maneuvering
through channels would not be possible, given the state’s
timeline for completing the project.
James said he expects to meet with Pat Phillips, LCEDA
president, this week to discuss the site plan further, and hopes
to begin erecting a steel building with glass and brick facade
and metal roof in three weeks.
Loudon City Council member Lewis “Charlie Brown” Garner, who is
also a member of the planning commission and board of zoning
appeals, said the city is ready to move forward. “This thing has
rocked on long enough; we need to get past it,” he said.