Jacobs, Frazier share a win on land use plan

Sandra ClarkLet's Talk

Knox County Commission adopted on April 22, 2024, the comprehensive land use plan that came from the two-year Advance Knox project.

The fight we predicted here yesterday never materialized. Instead, the plan was adopted with minor changes and absolutely no bloodshed.

Commission chair Terry Hill was masterful in managing the amendments. Perhaps a school social worker is best suited to chairing the commission.

Commissioner Kim Frazier was the big winner. At the meeting’s end, Frazier said she had started working on land use planning seven years ago as a resident of Hardin Valley. “I never expected to be here (on the commission), but man, I’m glad I’m here tonight.” Frazier said the adoption was “transformational” and she thanked Mayor Glenn Jacobs for “being big enough to take this on.”

Mayor Jacobs didn’t say much, leaving his “leadership team” to speak for the administration. Jacobs had said earlier that certain amendments were deal breakers. Yet his team – Director Jim Snowden and Cathy Olsen of Engineering and Public Works, and Mandi Benedict, along with Director Amy Brooks and Ally Ketron from Knoxville-Knox County Planning – met with commissioners and continued to compromise. Perhaps engineers and planners make good negotiators.

Yesterday, we posed three questions:

  • Will someone request another delay? It never came up.
  • Will other commissioners follow Kyle Ward and withdraw their proposed amendments? No. All other amendments were considered.
  • Will someone suggest the amendments be read into the record? No. In fact, Hill basically summarized each amendment before each vote.

Hill teamed with Ward to pass an amendment to designate a 3-acre tract (known to old-timers as where Oris Lynch used to live) as rural commercial. It’s at the intersection of Emory and Beaver Ridge roads at the new traffic light.

Commissioner Richie Beeler successfully got four amendments adopted, although he compromised with the mayor’s team on one. The most interesting vote came on Beeler’s amendment to restrict commercial development around the Midway Business Park. “I want to make sure we honor our commitment to the community,” said Beeler. Commissioners Ward and Larsen Jay said the Greenheck deal at Midway will require more commercial in the area. Ward pointed out the city of Knoxville annexations around the interchange. “I’d rather have the cash registers (collecting sales tax) in the county than in the city.”

Hill called for the vote. Beeler’s amendment passed 9-2 with no votes from Ward and Jay.

Commissioner John Schoonmaker tried to run amendments that hadn’t been agreed to by the mayor’s team. The first one went down 9-2 with only Schoonmaker and Rhonda Lee voting yes. Schoonmaker then withdrew his remaining amendments.

Conclusion: Let’s send the leadership team of Snowden, Olsen and Benedict to Washington. Maybe we could get something done.

Sandra Clark is editor/CEO of Knox TN Today Inc.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *