Planners mull rezoning, annexation

Vicky Newman-News-Herald

Loudon acreage once used as farmland or fallow fields is facing development into residential, commercial or industrial property.

The city of Loudon Regional Planning Commission unanimously voted last week to approve a request by Grayling Littleton to rezone 1.05 acres from R-1, low density residential district, to C-4, interchange business district. The property is located at 10507 Highway 72 N., across the street from the industrial park and near The Cabin Restaurant.

George Hodges, who lives on the hill behind the restaurant, told the board that he wondered if the land could become a nuisance as C-4.

"I don't object to R-1, but could I have a fast food restaurant or a service station light shining on my front porch and in my back bedroom?" Hodges asked.

Commission Chairman Hamil Carey acknowledged the reality.

"The Planning Commission is here to try to keep beer joints and chicken coops out of nice residential areas, but to answer your question, 'yes'," Carey said.

"Today, you vote to change this lot to commercial," Hodges said. "The next stop will be the R-1 on the corner."

Russ Newman, planning director, said the parcel of property in question is highway frontage property. "What you are talking about is not frontage. We treat highway frontage different."

"I realize the highest and best use is commercial," Hodges said.

Newman told Hodges he would have an opportunity to give input concerning any project that is proposed for the land.

The commission also approved a plat for a five-lot subdivision of 4.5 acres located off Carding Machine Road in Loudon. The parcel is zoned R-2, for high density residential, but property owner James Scott Huff said the subdivision plat is for single-family residences. Newman said Huff plans to sell two, one-acre lots and two, three-fourths acre lots.

Newman recommended approval.

"The subdivision complies with subdivision regulations," Newman said. "He wants one house per lot, but the zoning ordinance allows for multiple family, so it could be single or multiple."

Huff said he was selling the property to pay medical bills.

A plan of service for an annexation requested by Scott Newman for a 0.75-acre parcel at 17929 Highway 72 N. was approved. The triangle-shaped parcel is between Highway 72 and Beaver Brook Drive, which is a county road.

Some commissioners wondered if annexing the property would obligate the city to maintain a road that serves only one home.

Russ Newman said the road would not be included in the annexation. The annexation would allow Scott Newman to have access to city services such as fire, police, water, sewer, gas and garbage collection.

The motion to approve was made by Commissioner Ken Brewster.

Commissioner John Cardwell cast the sole dissenting vote.

"I voted no because we don't have enough information, and I am not comfortable doing something with roads," he said.

The commission also voted to recommend the city vacate the remaining portion of Matlock Bend Road that lies within the Tennessee National development.

A portion had been vacated when work began on the golf course. The developers asked for the remainder to be abandoned from the former Townson property line to the cul-de-sac at Corporate Park Drive.