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Rezoning pleas draw mixed results

By ZOË WATKINS ~ zwatkins@t-g.com
Posted 12/20/22

The Bedford County Board of Commissioners met in a regular meeting Tuesday evening. Dec. 13, to discuss two rezonings, one of which passed and another which was turned down. Approximately one …

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Rezoning pleas draw mixed results


The Bedford County Board of Commissioners met in a regular meeting Tuesday evening. Dec. 13, to discuss two rezonings, one of which passed and another which was turned down.

Approximately one acre of land at the corner of Fairfield Pike and Bell Buckle-Wartrace Road will be rezoned from agricultural to commercial for the purpose of a convenience store.

But the biggest concern was traffic. Since the Cascade schools are nearby, commissioners were concerned about any increase in traffic, especially during school hours.

District 1 Commissioner Drew Hooker said many residents were split on the rezoning due to the potential traffic concerns.

Bedford County Schools superintendent Tammy Garrett was present at the meeting to speak on the school zone traffic, which is an issue in the area as only 20% of Cascade Elementary School students ride the bus. On the positive side, Garrett said the elementary, middle, and high school all begin at different times, which helps with traffic congestion.

Highway superintendent Mark Clanton was also at the meeting and said the owner of the lot, Dwayne Sullivan, was willing to cooperate with the Tennessee Department of Transportation to put in a 50 foot right of way. Though Clanton had some certainty it requires no less than 50 feet of an additional right of way, he said that figure shouldn’t be locked in stone until further study is made.

“I’ll have to get with TDOT, and we’ll have to look at future plans of what we would like to see in that intersection,” Clanton said.

The rezoning passed unanimously among the commissioners.

‘Unbecoming conduct’

But another owner looking to put a convenience store at 3034 Highway 41A North was not so lucky with the rezoning.

Commission voted down the rezoning of the one-acre lot as it would have been considered “spot zoning.” Spot zoning is when a parcel of land within a larger zoned area is rezoned to become “at odds” with current zoning restrictions.

The property in question at one time was a farmers’ market, a grandfathered convenience market, and a bar called MT Bottle Too. However, due to its lack of having any “like” commercial uses for more than 36 months, it resulted in the property losing its grandfathered clause for commercial use.

A couple of Unionville residents expressed their disapproval of the possible rezoning, stating a fear of it turning from a convenience store to another commercial entity, thus affecting the agricultural landscape of the area.

Resident Dr. Howard Rupert said, “When MT Bottle Too was in operation, it caused a lot of conduct that was unbecoming of the community...I find that there are no significant or good benefits from having another alcohol-serving restaurant in Unionville.”

Long-time Unionville resident Ron Adcock said that though he has no objection to a convenience store, “once it goes commercial, it can be used for a lot of other purposes, and I do have a concern with that.”

Larry Hasty, who sits on the Planning Commission—which gave a unanimous unfavorable recommendation for the rezoning before it came to the commission—emphasized the “spot zoning” issue saying, “I ask you support what the planning/zoning board came forward with.”

The rezoning was unanimously turned down by the commissioners.