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By DAMON LAWRENCE
Robert F. Whiteside Jr. may still get to see his property become a church camp for children after all. That's because plans to turn it into an adult resort have been canned.
The pending sale between Whiteside and Gary Foster for Whiteside's Roane County property is off.
“It's done,” said Doug McDannel, who works for Whiteside and lives on the property. “They're not coming.”
According to a Tennessee Association of Realtors document, Foster was released from his obligations to buy the property on Tuesday.
Foster planned to turn the property into the Rosebud Lodge, which was first touted as a resort that would cater to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community. Pictures that first appeared on the lodge's Web site – www.rosebudlodge.com– showed two men kissing, two men sitting in a bath tub and one person who appeared to be dressed in drag. Clothing was also going to be optional three weeks of the month.
The property, which is around 60 acres and fronts the Clinch River, is located at 920 Skyline Drive northeast of Kingston. In order for Foster to go through with his business venture, the property needed to be rezoned from developing agricultural to commercial. That was also one of the conditions of the pending sale. Whiteside said last week that he always wanted his property to become a church camp for children, and that he had no knowledge of Foster's plans.
Word of the Rosebud Lodge created a firestorm in the community. A grassroots effort was underway to defeat the project. Outraged residents and church leaders were planning to show up in droves for a planning commission meeting on May 21 and a county commission meeting on June 9 to voice their opposition.
For more on this story, read Friday's edition of the Roane County News.