Lowe's Coming LC?

Is a Lowe's Home Improvement Store coming to Lenoir City? Seemingly not if Loudon County Planner Russ Newman can help it. At Tuesday's Lenoir City Planning Commission meeting, there were several agenda items pertaining to requests by Lowe's in preparation of Lowe's locating in Lenoir City. The new Lowe's would be located in a portion of the Town Creek development being developed off Hwy. 321.

Most of the topics to be discussed were minor issues from buffer zones to parking lot size. All seemed to go well till planner Newman stated that he felt that the parking lot needed extra curbs and shrubs through out the parking lot. Shannon Bever, Sr. Site Development Manager for Lowe's, politely told Newman that they could not include additional curb islands due to the loss of parking spaces and other reasons. Newman continued to insist on the additional curbing. Bever again respectfully told Newman this was the plan that had been approved by Lowes and any changes with the plan would require him to return to the Lowe's real estate committee which could put the whole plan in jeopardy given the current economic circumstances. Another Lowe's representative pointed out to Newman that they had met all the city's requirements and requested an "up or down vote on the plan tonight." 

To make a very long story much shorter, Planning member Eddie Simpson made a motion to reject Lowe's plan. A vote was taken but failed to gain a majority. Planning member, Kenneth Wilkerson, then made a motion to approve the plan which passed on a majority vote of the board. Newman with his unfounded demand to add more curbs and bushes in the parking lot nearly closed the Lowe's store before it ever opened. Some in the audience jokingly suggested that Newman may have been working for Home Depot with what seemed to be his effort to derail Lowe's. And yes the picture is a fake. Newman wasn't really wearing a Home Depot shirt. I just couldn't resist. 

Lowe's is proposing a 138,000 sq. ft. home improvement center located on a fourteen acre tract located in the Tetra portion of the Town Creek development across from Walmart. No contracts have been signed between Lowe's and Tetra and any agreement that may ultimately be reached is still contingent on a number of issues being worked out according Lowe's officials.