Postponed: Baxter Properties delays vote

Larry Van GuilderFountain City, On the Grow

Jennifer Baxter Reynolds of Baxter Properties has postponed a request for a One Year Plan Amendment to rezone property at the intersection of Adair Drive and Sanders Road. The application had requested rezoning of the roughly half-acre property from low-density residential to general commercial. Two concept plans attached to the application sketched out an idea to build a “Fountain City Beer Garden” on the property. Public comments in opposition to the rezoning have been thoughtful and detailed. See comments here: Jennifer Baxter Reynolds application


Readers will recall the popular Fountain City Diner closed after 10 years when Penny and Dennis Wagner, who leased the building from Baxter, were unable to meet the property owner’s demand for a 56 percent rent increase followed by a 3 percent increase annually for the ensuing five years. In her July 8 story, Betty Bean described how negotiations came to a startlingly swift end.

“(Penny Wagner) said negotiations ended abruptly Monday morning when she and Dennis came in to work after the long holiday weekend (the diner is closed Sundays) and found a ‘Building for Lease Sept. 1’ sign affixed to the awning.”

The ill will among Fountain Citians generated by the Wagners’ experience compounded still-fresh antagonism created last October when Baxter evicted 87-year-old Dr. John Tumblin from the building he had leased for 20 years. Tumblin’s son, Michael, said his father was still going to work every day but “lost his purpose” when he was forced to retire. Dr. Tumblin died in July of this year.

Emory Road, Commission District 7

Also on the agenda for Thursday’s meeting of the Knoxville-Knox County Planning Commission, Calton Development is requesting a rezoning of six acres on East Emory Road south of Bishop Road from agricultural to general business. The planning staff recommends planned commercial zoning, which will give the Planning Commission an opportunity to see a development plan and address issues such as connectivity during use-on-review. Local resident Peter Salzman prefers no rezoning at all: “(I) request that the property not be rezoned. There are issues that need to be worked out and fixed before this property is rezoned.”

Read the entire agenda including links to public comments here: Planning Commission agenda Oct. 10.

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