The proposed rezoning of land at the intersection of Highway 60 and Francisco Road from agricultural to industrial was denied with 13 members opposing the rezoning and one commissioner passing on the vote.
Commissioner Mel Griffith, who is also a member of the Bradley County Planning Commission, said he did not vote because “I voted for it on the planning commission. I am not going to vote against it up here.”
“I’ve not had any issue that has generated as many calls and as many personal contacts as this rezoning,” said 1st District Commissioner Terry Caywood.
Many residents came to Monday’s meeting in opposition of the change. Some united to form the “Committee to Preserve Georgetown” in opposition to the rezoning.
Resident Mike Graves presented a signed petition to the Commission with names of those who opposed the rezoning.
“Georgetown is a small historic district,” Graves said. “It’s a great place to raise a family.”
Graves said he and his neighbors did not want to see a manufacturing or chemical plant on the site that would change the atmosphere of their neighborhood and the Georgetown area.
He said land in Georgetown is considered valuable and such a facility could have a negative impact on residential property values.
“I promise you the land value will go down if this is rezoned,” Graves said.
Others spoke of the lack of infrastructure in the area making the location an unlikely place for future industry, unless major changes were to be made.
Mike Smith, Bradley County trustee who has family in Georgetown, said the rezoning request was “not in the best interest of Georgetown or Bradley County.”
He emphasized there was no sewer system available to the property and additional road infrastructure needed to make the spot appealing to industry was not planned until at least a decade from now.
The exact industry that might eventually build on the site was undetermined.
“Please don’t force an unknown on the residents of the Georgetown community,” Smith said.
Phyllis Narris, a small business owner in Georgetown, said she is located across the street from the land being discussed. She said her customers enjoy the country drive to her store, something that would be destroyed if a warehouse or manufacturing plant were located across the street, she said.
“The quality of the environment and the beauty would be gone forever,” Narris said.
Jeff Miller, whose land borders the proposed rezoning location, also expressed environmental concerns.
Increased noise level and preservation of the peaceful, natural atmosphere were also concerns voiced by residents.
Only one person spoke in favor of the rezoning.
“The only reason this has been considered at all is the benefit of Bradley County and industrial growth in our area, and that’s inevitable,” said property owner Larry Allen.
However the idea to request the rezoning did not begin with the property owners.
“I want to make something very clear. This isn’t something we particularly wanted but members of the Bradley County Planning Commission came to us and suggested that we consider rezoning the property,” Allen said.
In the land use plan used by the Bradley County Regional Planning Commission, the property is designated as a potential location for industrial growth in the future. The land use plan has never been adopted by the Bradley County Commission, and illustrates potential, not necessarily what will happen.
Griffith said the map has been discussed, but he did not approach the property owners about rezoning the land. Identification of who approached them was not given by the home owners.
Industrial land in Bradley County has been used up and more is needed in the future if Bradley County plans to continue recruiting industry, according to Griffith.
Fourth district commissioner J. Adam Lowe and 1st District Commissioner Ed Elkins expressed concern that the property owners had been approached to rezone the land based on a map that had not been approved.
Allen said current regulations would keep any industry from causing runoff and other environmental issues.
Another rezoning request to change a piece of land on Courtland Crest Drive from R-1 (residential) to R-2 (residential) to allow the construction of townhouses on the property was approved.