Commission OKs one rezoning request, denies another

By AUTUMN HUGHES
Posted 8/25/19

One rezoning request was approved with no discussion by the Bradley County Commission, while another rezoning request garnered comments from commissioners and the public, and was denied.

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Commission OKs one rezoning request, denies another

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One rezoning request was approved with no discussion by the Bradley County Commission, while another rezoning request garnered comments from commissioners and the public, and was denied.

The County Commission approved a resolution to rezone from Rural Commercial (C1) district to General Industrial (I1) district property located at 1108 Lois St. S.E. — presented by Commissioner Thomas Crye.

The rezoning applicant is Jordan Fabricating, Inc. The property’s current and proposed use is fabrication of metal products.

The request to rezone was approved with 12 commissioners voting “yes,” one commissioner — Vice Chairman Jeff Yarber — passing on the vote, and one commissioner — Louie Alford — absent for the vote.

There were no comments during the public hearing for this request, but there were several comments related to the request to rezone from Forestry/Agricultural/Residential (FAR) district to General Commercial (C2), district property located at 6839 Georgetown Road N.W.

The rezoning applicant is Randy Carver. The property’s current use is trucking company/scrap, and the proposed use is used car sales.

The Bradley County Regional Planning Commission recommended the Lois Street rezoning request be approved, but did not recommend the request for the Georgetown Road property.

Among those speaking against the rezoning request was Sandra Snider, who said she owns nearby property and shared photos of the property requested for rezoning.

"I'm very much opposed to what I've seen back there," Snider said, noting there are old cars, a pontoon boat, and other items. "There have been untruths told about this property."

Snider said the property used to belong to her father, noting this rezoning will not help traffic on Highway 60.

"To me it needs to be left alone," Snider said.

Jenice Saint is also opposed to the rezoning request. She lives nearby and said "it is an eyesore" with crushed cars on the property. She is concerned about the surrounding property values and "the environmental impact" of crushed cars leaking fluids.

George Campbell also spoke against the rezoning. He said he has lived nearby for 14 years and has seen crushed cars on the property. He added there are lots of vehicle crashes in that area of Highway 60.

"It's like the Indy 500 out there," he said.

Carver, the property owner requesting the rezoning, said he has owned the property since 1987 and was friends with Snider's father. Carver said he has had a trucking company on the property for 26 years and he wants to rezone the property in order to have a car sales lot there.

"We're not trying to start a scrap yard," Carver said. He explained he owns a car crushing company, too, and uses a mobile crusher on cars for a Chattanooga business. He said his trucking company also hauls scrap sometimes.

Carver said he purchased a crusher and tested it at his property, which is why there are about two dozen scrap cars there now. He said the crushed cars stored there were used to test the crusher equipment, and he is waiting for scrap prices to go up, otherwise he will lose money on the vehicles.

Part of the testing on the crusher was for the environmental controls.

Carver said Environmental Protection Agency representatives have visited "and they approved everything we're doing."

Carver said only the state of Tennessee can do anything about Highway 60 traffic, noting he has addressed the concerns brought up at a recent planning commission meeting.

Carver added he respects those who voiced their opposition, but what they're objecting to is not what he's going to put on the property.

After the public hearing ended, commissioners further discussed the rezoning request.

Commissioner Charlotte Peak said a C2 zoning would allow a car lot, adding in the FAR zone, a property owner can only have nine nonrunning vehicles on the property. She said if Carver decides to open a scrap yard, he would need permits.

Commissioner Milan Blake said he understands there is new information the planning commission should consider, including the grading work done to improve the sight distance of the property’s driveway. He made a motion, seconded by Peak, to send the rezoning request back to the planning commission for additional review.

Commissioner Bill Winters asked why the planners did not have a recommendation for the request.

Commissioner Thomas Crye, a member of the planning commission, said the vote was 4-3 in opposition of it. He cited public opposition and traffic concerns related to ingress/egress and sight distance as reasons not to approve it.

Yarber said the County Commission can override the planning commission’s recommendation if new information is brought forth, like the grading work that has been done.

In voting on the substitute motion to send the rezoning request back to the planning commission, the vote was tied 7-7, so the motion failed.

Returning to the original motion to grant the rezoning request, 12 commissioners voted “no,” one commissioner — Yarber — voted “yes” and one commissioner — Peak — abstained.

Later, Peak spoke about the rezoning request that had been denied.

“I take private property rights very seriously,” Peak said. She added she believes by not sending the issue back to the planning commission, the board was “cheated” out of seeing new information.

Peak added she was upset she didn’t feel she could vote yes or no, and so abstained from the vote.

Commissioner Mike Hughes asked County Attorney Crystal Freiberg what steps the property owner can take now to further pursue rezoning.

Freiberg said there has to be a change of circumstance before the property owner can go back to the planning commission.

In other business, the County Commission:

• Approved a resolution authorizing the Bradley County mayor to enter into a health services agreement amendment and extension agreement with QCHC of Tennessee, Inc. for an additional one-year term through Aug. 31, 2020, to provide inmate health services for the Bradley County Jail and Workhouse and to add additional mental health services.

• Approved a motion to approve litter grant budget amendment that will allow Bradley County to continue the Litter Grant Program in the 2019-20 fiscal year. The contract amount is $64,900 for the contract period of July 1, 2019, through June 30, 2020.

• Approved a highway safety grant budget amendment. The grant was approved by the County Commission during the 2018-19 budget year, but the Highway Safety budget year goes from October through September. The grant amount is $25,928.89.

• Approved a motion to send a lease agreement for the former American Uniform property to the Bradley County Board of Education for consideration. The location is the proposed location for the Partnerships in Industry & Education Center, or PIE Center. The term of the lease agreement is 40 years, beginning on Sept. 1, 2019, and ending on Aug. 31, 2059.

According to the resolution, the Board of Education will pay Bradley County $1 per year, for each year of the lease term.

• A motion to approve the HCI Committee-recommended 2019 grant cycle timeline. The grant cycle is Aug. 25 to Nov. 19.

• Heard from Peak she would like the Road Committee to discuss a paving request for Wayfarer Drive, and bring in commissioners and former commissioners who were part of the discussion about the project five years ago.

“There are a lot of agreements made that day that are not in the minutes,” said Peak. She noted she was present at that meeting. She also asked that former commissioners Dan Rawls and Terry Caywood be invited to participate in a meeting to discuss the issue.

The Bradley County Commission’s next meeting is a work session at 7 p.m., Monday,  in the County Commission Courtroom at the Courthouse.

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