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Midtown business corridor proposal

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Owner says no plans in place for property near county park

By Cindy Simpson

A request to rezone a significant stretch of land across from Roane County Park from agricultural to commercial was before the Roane County Planning Commission Wednesday.

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The zoning request was pushed off until next month’s planning commission meeting, Dec. 18.

“I have no current plan other than to market the property,” said property owner Baker Hamilton to the planning commission. “There is quite a bit of C2 (a commercial zoning category) property around it, and that is what I would like. In C2 there is a myriad of things that could happen including residential.”

Lisa Sexton, who lives on Shanty Branch Road, said she received a letter notifying her Hamilton wanted to rezone around 160 acres along Hwy. 70 from east of Caney Ford Baptist Church to Poland Hollow Road and extending all the way back into the rural wooded areas on the corner of Poland Hollow Road and Shanty Branch Road.

Sexton said her family is one of only a few neighbors who have received the notice, but she and her husband are working hard to inform people and get people involved in seeking to get the request denied.

“We don’t fault him for wanting to get as much money as he can, but I hope he doesn’t fault us for wanting,” to keep it rural, Sexton said.

She is concerned about the long list of possibilities that could locate there and dreads the impact commercial property could cause.

“I will be devastated if the trees are taken down. I don’t want a Target over there or a hotel or anything,” Sexton said.

She and many of their neighbors enjoy the feeling of seclusion in the quiet wooded area.

“I can already see the night skies lit up from Lowe’s and Kroger,” Sexton said.

One neighbor who bought property from Hamilton admitted concern about how rezoning and potential businesses on could do to his chances of selling his property.

Sexton said someone recommended talking to county commissioners about finding grant funds or using money from the sale of the Caney Creek RV Park property to purchase at least part of the property to go toward adding onto Roane County Park.

“We think an extension of Roane County Park would benefit ― if the county were to purchase Mr. Hamilton’s property it would benefit him, it would benefit everyone in Roane County that would have the opportunity to use the park,” Sexton said. “It could be used for biking trails, hiking trails, horseback riding trails. We’d rather see something like that than a hotel or a supermarket. No matter what is put up there on Hwy. 70, the light is going to infringe on us.