Statement Of Kristy Ervin To Commission
Loudon County is going through a period of unprecedented growth, most predominately the 5th and 6th districts. Our growth outpaces that of the Knoxville area, the state and the region. The amount of development that has already occurred and the amount of development that is currently planned is staggering. We continually hear from developers, county planners, economic agencies and public officials how all this development is good for Loudon County. All this development is going to bring in more tax dollars and all our lives will be better. They define it as progress. But it is my opinion and the opinion of a growing number of citizens in my district that the people making these statements are confused about the definition of “progress”. Development does not equal progress. Just because we allow developers to stick a house or a building on every scrap of open land in the county, doesn’t mean our lives are improved by it. Ask yourself how much the quality of life has improved in Loudon County so far thanks to all the development. Are we any healthier? Cancer rates in Loudon County continue to be well above the national average, as are the rates for thyroid disease and heart disease. Obesity is at an all time high. How can our children and our citizens be healthy when there is no green space left room to play and run and the air pollution continues to intensify breathing problems?
Are our educational institutions any better? Our level of education continues to linger near the bottom of state and national averages. Our children are being put in trailers because we don’t have room for them all, we are teaching classes in the cafeterias, locker rooms and electrical closets and sending our kids to PE class in a gym so hot they can’t exercise for fear of heat stroke, because the county can’t afford an air conditioner.
Are we any safer? Crime rates continue to go up and the sheriff’s department can’t field all the calls it currently receives. Traffic congestion is already a nightmare, especially if you happen to be on Highway 11 or Hwy 321 at 9, 12, or 5 each day, and the number of traffic fatalities rises each year as more of our citizens are killed and injured on our roadways.
Not to mention problems such as flooding and storm water run-off issues caused by the current developments, polluted streams, inadequate power supplies, loss of wildlife habitat, lake erosion and the loss of our heritage and our historical way of life.
As for the sixth district,
Consider these figures:
Within one square mile these developments will result in about 650 housing units.
That is 1625 additional people moving into our district (an increase of nearly 45%); approximately 380 of those will be children in our schools. And on a 4.2 mile stretch of narrow curvy road with a railroad crossing, a narrow railroad overpass, a blind intersection and more than a couple of hair pen turns, we will be adding another 1170 cars to the road traffic on a daily basis.
I am petitioning this commission to put together a committee or panel to explore the future ramifications of this kind of un-checked development and develop a detailed plan for our path forward. Until we are sure that adequate facilities, services and a decent way of life can be maintained and preserved for our current citizens and taxpayers, we shouldn’t be opening the door to a flood of development and the wave of problems that history has proven will follow in its wake.