Commission denies prelim request for West Links development

Published 9:22 pm Thursday, March 2, 2017

Star Photo/Curtis Carden
The Elizabethton Regional Planning Commission voted to deny a preliminary approval for a development project in West Links after concerns were raised by citizens and information was provided by the developer.

A piece of property aimed at development hit a red light during the Elizabethton Regional Planning Commission meeting Thursday night.
Development on property for 16-unit, one-story houses located on West Links Estates was denied a preliminary request for approval following discussion from concerned residents of Wedgewood Circle.
Dena Bass made the motion to deny the request citing insufficient information at this time with the developer not yet speaking with an engineer, along with concerns raised by citizens. The motion was seconded by Melanie Sellers and unanimously approved by the board.
The developer of the property, Mr. Scott, requested the board give a preliminary approval on the bid before moving forward to pay an engineer between $8,000 to $10,000 to gather all information needed before final approval.
Scott, a resident of Carter County, told the commission that he understood the residents’ apprehension of developing the site but added the development of three-bedroom, two-bath complexes would be the “lesser of two evils” compared to a national developer entering the area to development apartment complexes.
While for the project, Scott said he wanted the board to already vote on the site’s possibility of becoming a reality that night, adding he did not want to have the money for an engineer go to waste. The commission added they did not want to be recognized stating they already approve development without all information available.
Various topics of concern by citizens included the Buck Van Huss Drive, the only roadway that leads into Wedgewood Circle, and for 123 Wedgewood Circle, where the property would be located. The road itself would be considered a private road with the city not liable for maintaining the roads’ condition. The city would only be able to provide necessary garbage pickup, which is standard by the municipality.
Other concerns included the roadway itself, which would have to be developed to allow access to a firetruck, green space for the houses, sewer management, and sidewalks for the road.
Wedgewood resident Tim Campbell cited his concern was for the children in the area and that the road leading to the possible development needed sidewalks and adequate green space for the houses.
City Mayor Curt Alexander, also a resident of Wedgewood, added concerns about the road leading into the development, stating it needed to be a city road and showed a letter that referenced the development, not disclosing that the housing would be condominiums. The mayor added that surety bonds would be a step to take to require developers to have when developing property to ensure protection for the city and cited Johnson City uses those types of measures.

Alexander did second Sellers comments about the city needed more development like Scott proposed, but it needed to following the same regulations as other developments.
In other business, a permanent speed bump on Edgewood Avenue failed to make it through the commission after no motion was made by members.
Commissioners voted to approve the measure of implementing a speed bump to address concerns made by resident Jeff Jackson. Hartman provided statistics on the before and after the bump was installed and commissioners saw no significant change in statistics, which inevitably led to the final decision.

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