BY KEN LITTLE
The Tusculum Planning Commission Tuesday night approved continued operation of a longtime greenhouse business in the city.
Ann's GreeneHaus, at 101 Pleasure Circle, closed recently following the death of owner Ann Gaut.
Rachel Bewley and husband Robert McSweeney will lease the property from the Gaut family. They will be assisted by Kris Hahne, who operates Kris' Gardens landscaping business in Greeneville.
Bewley said after the meeting that the business should be up and running by later this year after necessary licenses and permits are obtained.
Margaret Gaut, mother of Ann, said the family would like to keep the greenhouse open. Ann Gaut operated the popular business for 30 years.
The Gaut family will maintain ownership of the properties where the business is located.
The approximately five-acre parcel housing the business is zoned R-1 but is considered an agricultural operation, Planning Commission Chairman Robert Bird said.
Anything over five acres in Tusculum can technically be classified as a farm, he said.
Continued operation of the greenhouse on the family-owned property will be "grandfathered" in city zoning regulations, Bird stated.
City Planner Ross Phillips said the practice is consistent with state law.
"There's nothing in the (city) zoning that's against this use," Phillips said.
Bewley outlined her plans for the business to the planning commission.
She said Ann's GreeneHaus will be a nursery, garden and landscaping supply retail business that "will propagate and sell organically grown ornamental and edible annuals, perennials, trees and shrubs, with a strong focus on native and edible plants."
The business will also sell organic gardening supplies such as organic fertilizers and organic pest controls. It will also sell garden tools and accessories, along with local products such as cut flowers and seasonal produce.
Ann's Greenehaus will also sell landscaping materials such as mulch, stones and pavers.
The business will have display gardens "to attract customers and show examples of how to use our products," Bewley said.
It will employ "experienced landscape and gardening professionals who can assist customers in landscape design and site-specific plant selection, and advise customers on organic management methods and pest and disease control," Bewley said.
In other business, Phillips said the city's zoning map has been updated to reflect a zoning ordinance passed in September.
The city's zoning map has also been updated to reflect rezoning changes on properties in the city over the past few years, he said.
No action was taken Tuesday night on naming a replacement for longtime Planning Commission member Warren Dickert, who resigned in January.
Dickert was vice chairman of the planning board.
The next scheduled meeting of the Planning Commission is at 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 11, at city hall, 45 Alexander St.