BY SARAH R. GREGORY
On a split vote, members of the Greeneville Regional Planning Commission approved a rezoning request for eight lots on West Main Street during their December meeting Tuesday.
Board members also approved subdivision of property on Whitehouse Road and preliminary plans for three new housing units on Riles Circle for the Greeneville Housing Authority.
WEST MAIN STREET REZONING
Board members initially tied in a vote of three in favor and three against the rezoning of eight lots at 1610 W. Main St.
Planning commission members Charles Hutchins, W.T. Daniels, and Bob King voted in favor of the rezoning from R-2 Medium-Density Residential to B-1 Neighborhood Business.
Members Lindy Riley, Trey Ricker and Keith Paxton voted against the measure.
Chairman Ben Brooks broke the tie, voting in favor of the rezoning request.
Dan Walker, who owns the property along with John Walker and Billy Cutshaw, addressed the board to request the rezoning.
Walker said an agreement is in place to bring an assisted living facility, based in Asheville, to the property.
Such a facility could operate under the original R-2 zoning, but Walker said he was making the request in the event that the current agreement fell through before sale of the property closed.
During discussions, it was clarified that the B-1 zoning would give more flexibility as to what types of businesses could operate on the property.
However, a number of restrictions still exist, Daniels said during discussion with Building Official Jeff Woods.
Daniels said Planning Commission members would still have to approve site plans for any future businesses to operate on the property.
Woods said that he had received calls from nearby residents questioning what types of business could use the property under B-1 zoning.
The majority of the questions, he said, centered around whether alcohol could be purchased or served there, as it is located near First Church of God.
Mavis Kincaid, a resident on nearby Ricker Avenue, told the board that residents in the area, many of whom are elderly, were concerned about "rumors" of what types of businesses may be coming.
Kincaid expressed concern about alcohol sales and traffic in the area, in particular, in the event that some sort of convenience market or gas station would be considered for the property.
Kincaid also noted several new residences in the area, and questioned if the zoning change would affect property values.
Cutshaw said warehouses, a junkyard and a veterinary facility all operate within sight of the property.
"It doesn't seem residentially viable with the other around it," he said.
Daniels said that Cutshaw's point made sense, and noted that that area of West Main Street has gone through a transition over the years.
He said the area was "a mixed situation that we have to deal with. There is a lot of commercial use on the Newport Highway" where the property is located.
Further discussion among board members and Woods clarified that a majority of property in the area has been zoned for business use.
Alcohol may not be sold or served perpendicular to or within 200 feet of a church, school or park, Woods explained.
As discussion concluded, board members reiterated that any future site plans would be considered by the Planning Commission, which can set requirements for different properties in order to address issues such as traffic flow.
HOUSING AUTHORITY PLANS
Commissioners granted preliminary approval for site plans for three new units for the Greeneville Housing Authority on Riles Circle.
Preliminary plans call for construction of three new housing units: two duplexes and one triplex.
Woods recommended that the board grant preliminary site plan approval, and noted that some portions were still being worked on: Drainage calculations are still underway, the Greeneville Water Department must address an issue concerning nearby manholes, and the Fire Marshal has requested an additional fire hydrant for the area, Woods said.
Without discussion, Planning Commission members voted unanimously in favor of the preliminary plans.
Final approval will be requested at a later meeting.
Also without discussion, commissioners voted unanimously in favor of subdivision of 23.83 acres of property on Whitehouse Road, located in the town's Urban Growth Boundary.
The action, which previously earned Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation approval, meets all requirements outlined in the town's ordinance, according to Woods.