Loudon County stiffens zoning laws

Jeremy Styron News-Herald.net

After government officials heard concerns from property owners about incomplete work at a pair of local subdivisions within the last year, Loudon County Commission on Monday approved a resolution that will prevent developers from obtaining new building permits if they are in violation of zoning regulations on other projects.
“If a developer comes in (and) he doesn’t finish it correctly, it’s going to be hard for him to do any further business inside Loudon County,” Mayor Rollen “Buddy” Bradshaw said in a follow-up interview Tuesday, noting that before the county can adopt roads, they need to be up to code and include a top coat of asphalt.
In previous commission meetings, property owners raised concerns about incomplete roadways and requested thoroughfares be adopted into the county road system so homeowners don’t have to directly shoulder the cost for maintenance.
Addressing incomplete work at Warrior’s Chase off Highway 70 in Lenoir City, the subdivision’s property owners association self-funded the addition of a top coat to finish the road, Bradshaw said.
Silver Oaks is another affected neighborhood near the Knox County border east of Martel Road. “The road itself has got some pretty bad spots in it,” Bradshaw said, noting that a portion of the road has a “sunken spot” and some “rough patches.” “Before the county adopts them it will be the job of the developer to complete those before the county can adopt them,” he said.
Commission voted 9-0 to amend the county zoning resolution. Commissioner David Meers was absent to attend another event related to his work on commission.
“This is the change to the zoning stuff (which) is to hopefully prevent any more — I believe the word here in Loudon County is ‘scofflawing’,” Commissioner Van Shaver said during the meeting.
Commissioner Leo Bradshaw said in a follow-up interview that he thought the change to the resolution was a “very important” step in protecting property owners and ensuring “expectations and promises” are met. He said incomplete work often puts a burden on homeowners who could be left footing the bill.
“I think it needs to be corrected, and I think this resolution corrects that,” Leo Bradshaw said. “It’s a pretty strong step in making sure that doesn’t happen again. Developers they just need to do what they promised to do is what it boils down to.”
Buddy Bradshaw said the change to the resolution doesn’t target all developers but only those who abandon subdivisions without completing the work.
“There’s plenty of reputable developers around; it’s not all developers,” he said. “But it’ll prevent the developers who want to skip out early, it will prevent that from happening.”
In other business, commission:
• Voted in favor of naming Oct. 5 as David Blackburn Day in the county. Blackburn, a Loudon High School graduate, is the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga’s current athletic director. Blackburn delivered a speech Monday at Fort Loudoun Middle School, and Meers was in attendance on behalf of commission.
• Adopted an update to the county policy and procedure handbook. Under the new policy, new or rehired employees will be allowed to use vacation leave upon accrual but can’t use sick leave “until successfully completing the probationary period.” The county’s probation period for new hires is six months.
• Approved rezoning about 0.91 acres at 180 Littleton Drive from R-1, suburban residential, to C-2, general commercial district.
• Voted to accept 0.161 miles of Mountain Drive in Avalon into the county road system.