Sixth District Commissioner Mel Griffith was the only one to vote in favor of the rezoning. Commissioners Brian Smith, J. Adam Lowe and Chairman Louie Alford were absent.
The land in question is inside a subdivision which restricts land use to residential purposes.
Property owner Marty Fox said the land would be mostly residential because he plans to build a house on the site. However, he also plans to move his mostly web-based business there.
“I spend a lot of needless time running back and forth … so I want to bring it to my home,” Fox said.
Merging his home and business properties would mean displaying four storage buildings on the site, so they could be seen from the road.
“It’s not much different than what some people have (in their yard),” Fox said.
According to Bradley County Planner Corey Divel, this requires the land to be rezoned to commercial. Divel’s office had recommended approval of the rezoning because the land in question is marked as a likely spot for commercial growth in the county’s land use plan. The Bradley County Planning Commission recommended the request be denied.
Seventh District Commissioner Brian Hall questioned if changing the land to commercial would be considered spot zoning.
Divel said it would not because there are other commercial properties not far away.
“I want to create a barrier to make the residential area comfortable with what I’m doing there,” Fox said.
He said many of his customers never come to his location. They simply conduct the business online; however, a few do like to see the product in person before committing to having one constructed.
Fox said he is also looking at a business location in Polk County, but his preference is to remain in Bradley County.
“I want to keep my kids in this school system. I want to keep the revenues here,” Fox said.
First District Commissioner Ed Elkins asked how water runoff would be handled.
Resident Tammy Hipps said water runoff to her property forced her to change the plans when constructing her home.
Fox said the water could be diverted to the ditches near the property. He said he would follow the county guidelines on the water issues.
Hipps said the “integrity of the subdivision” and safety were her biggest concerns about the potential rezoning.
“There are so many accidents right there,” Hipps said.
She noted the speed limit increases to 55 in this area and it’s a passing zone near a large hill. When trying to turn left onto Hopewell Place, she said cars have been hit from behind by cars speeding up the hill.
She said commercial traffic should not be increased on the road unless turn lanes are added to that stretch of Georgetown Road.
Neighbor Gary Ratcliff agreed that the displays will create traffic in the area where it is already dangerous.
Also during the meeting:
- Melissa Woody, vice president of the Convention & Visitors Bureau for the Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce, answered questions about the latest economic impact of tourism data for Bradley County. Woody said that much of the hotel stays in 2011 was due to industrial development projects. The greatest tourism the last time a survey was done, which was in 2003, was outdoor recreation. Woody said her department is working on another research project on this. In the past, the cost of conducting such research has been a limiting factor.
- Griffith gave an update from a Road Committee meeting. A traffic study is being planned for Urbane Road as the committee considers changing the speed limit on Urbane from 45 to 35.