Bumping elbows in Gibbs: Residents oppose higher density

Sandra ClarkOur Town Leaders

Gibbs residents are organizing to oppose a sector plan amendment that could bring medium density housing to Tazewell Pike.

Mark C. Bunch of Duke Development Co. LLC has optioned 9.89 acres west of Tazewell Pike, north of Fairview Road, behind Midway IGA. The current sector plan calls for low density residential (one to five dwelling units per acre). Bunch has requested an amendment for medium density residential (six to 12 units per acre). His proposed development would include nine dwelling units per acre – a density higher than anything else in the Corryton ZIP code, said one resident. Maps and a full description of his request are here.

Neighbors met Thursday at Clear Springs Baptist Church to discuss the issue with Knox County Commissioners Richie Beeler, Larsen Jay and Justin Biggs. The amendment is on the May 9 agenda of Knox Planning (formerly MPC).

There is no request for rezoning at this time – just the sector amendment. The land is owned by Dr. Kalpesh D. and Jagruti Parikh. Dr. Parikh is a family physician in Corryton.

Adam Thompson, Corryton cattle farmer, summarized neighborhood objections to the sector plan amendment:

“Corryton is near and dear to my heart,” he said. “It’s a wonderful place to live and it’s grown dramatically in the past 20 years – especially Gibbs. We got our middle school back; we’ve got a new elementary school and finally got our first traffic light. Now we’re getting a second one.”

Thompson said residents are not against change, but they want change/growth consistent with existing development and the sector plan, which calls for low density residential. He said residents who oppose Bunch’s request are doing nothing more than asking Knox Planning to enforce its own recommendation.

He also mentioned flooding issues and traffic congestion. The new development would bring almost 100 homes with a potential of 200 cars. The land is within the parental responsibility zone for middle and high school, meaning Knox County Schools won’t provide bus transportation for students. Tazewell Pike is narrow, without sidewalks.

Thompson said those opposed should attend the Knox Planning meeting at 1:30 p.m. Thursday, May 9, at the City County Building. “We’re item No. 30, so if you are there by 3 p.m. (it should be in time).”

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