Planning commission OK's Maryville Highway lot rezoning

Apr. 10, 2014 @ 11:46 PM

Neighbors remained opposed to a property owner’s request to rezone a lot on Maryville Highway for commercial use, even after he dropped a request to have part of it zoned for higher commercial use.

Mike Franklin was back in front of the planning commission Tuesday, asking the panel to once again recommend county commission rezone his property.

The planning commission had already voted once to recommend the county rezone his property, but the county commission rejected the proposal last month after hearing opposition from people who live or own property in the area.

That proposal called for part of the proposal to be zoned rural commercial use (C-1) and for part to be zoned for general commercial use (C-2), which allows for more high-traffic businesses than rural commercial use. County documents indicated Franklin planned to have an auto repair shop on one the area zoned C-2, and a self storage business on the section zoned C-1.

Tuesday, Franklin said he only wanted it to be zoned for rural commercial use and that he is only planning to have the self storage area on the lot.

“There was never no intention of putting in a garage, I don’t know where all those rumors got started,” he said, although he acknowledged he’d considered the idea.

That would eliminate the possibility of having any kind of garage on site without another rezoning. The storage complex will be similar to the one he built on Old Sevierville Pike , Franklin said.

Neighbors had complained about the plans, especially the possible repair shop, saying the area is rural and the additional traffic would make the two-lane highway more dangerous.

County planning staff and Franklin noted there were several other businesses in the area, including garages and Maryville Speedpark. They recommended approval, noting the rural commercial use would be similar to the other businesses in the area and wouldn’t create the same issues as the general commercial designation.

“C-1 is a rural commercial, with less intensive type uses,” County Planner Jeff Ownby said. “The uses are limited in the amount of traffic they have.”

Franklin announced the change to his request after several opponents to the plan had already spoken, and they focused on the proposed garage. However, the discussion continued after it became clear he wasn’t asking to be zoned for general commercial use.

Some neighbors noted many of the nearby businesses were grandfathered in because they were already there when the county adopted zoning.

They asked for the neighborhood to be zoned for residential use in part to prevent additional commercial development, they said.

One woman, who didn’t identify herself, said her mother-in-law lived across from the site and was worried about having more traffic entering the highway near her driveway. “She doesn’t want all these vehicles going in and out,” the woman said.

County Commissioner Judy Godfrey, who isn’t on the planning commission, spoke out against the measure for that reason. “(The neighbors) asked us to keep it residential, that’s why we put zoning in place,” she said.

The planning commission eventually voted 8-2 in favor of recommending the rezoning. Commissioners Dale Reagan and Paul Parrott voted against it, while James Dykes, Mike McCarter, Ben Clabo, Ronnie Keener, Harold Pttner, Ronnie Allen and Jim Hicks voted for it.

Commissioners Jack McMahan, Tony Proffitt, James Gibson, Tommy Watts and Mike Hillard were not present.

Also Tuesday, the planning commission:

  • Approved a concept plan for Ford Hill Crossing on Chapman Highway
  • Approved a site plan for a Dollar Tree store in Seymour
  • Approved a site plan for Freedom Senior Living on Boyds Creek Highway
  • Approved a site plan for an expansion at Foxfire Mountain Adventure