This week it was time to pull things from the mail bag. One particular e-mail I received caught my eye, but since it was sent directly to me rather than as a letter to the editor, I couldn’t just give it over to be printed as it didn’t have a phone number to verify the senders name. We did later get permission from the author to print it via e-mail, so I will share it with you. But never let it be said that I don’t listen to all sides of the debate.
May 21, 2003
To: Mr. Fitzsimmons
RE: “Left out in zoning”
It is obvious that you are not a local. If you were you would know that zoning at this time would cheat the average land owner and lean in favor of the wealthy land owners. Maybe you have it made already but a lot of people have been waiting a long time for their boat to come in and people like you want to restrict or condemn their chances for a possible payoff on land they have been taking care of and paying taxes on for many years. Who are you to come here and start talking about how little we know about developing “our” neck of the woods? We must be doing something right, you came here didn’t you! Now about the terrible things we’re doing to the subdivisions, have you noticed that your office building has been built at the entrance of one of the oldest and most established subdivisions in the area? Nooo, it’s different now that you guys are in your little complex, it’s time to heckle all the other people so they might not have a chance to build a complex on their property because it doesn’t seem right to you. Here’s an idea, go back to where you came from if they have so my great restrictions and people aren’t allowed to prosper from their property. Go back and tell them what hicks we are, but mainly just go back.
Mr. W. Johnson
Mr. W. Johnson,
I think you state some excellent points for the anti-zoning effort, minus the misinformed nature of your personal attack. So let’s debate your claims.
I’m a bit mystified as to how zoning would “cheat the average land owner” in this county. I can only assume you imagine zoning as a fourteen inch thick binder of regulations on tree sizes, driveway types and number of windows on road facing side of a structure. If that is your fear, I’ll tell you now, I don’t want that either. I believe we need a very simple, common sense form of zoning that will allow everyone to prosper, not just the folks who are selling their land.
I understand your fear over property values, however I’d point out that the owners of the Jake Thomas farm, who walked away with millions last weekend, felt no negative effect on their land value from the city zoning. I’d argue it added to the value. I think that common sense zoning would be positive for all property vales, big or small.
When you build whatever you want, wherever you want without regard to your neighbors, the utilities, or roads in an area, the resulting mish-mash lowers the property values. Don’t believe me, call the folks in Kodak with a junkyard emerging next door to them and ask how their property values have been doing lately. Better yet, consider how many commercial businesses (i.e.: Weigel’s, Food City, Ruby Tuesday’s) are currently backing away from new development in Seymour because much of the prime, major road fronting property is already too close to residential areas for them to operate their businesses.
Thank you for making my point for me by recognizing one of the problems we suffer without zoning, commercial/residential jumbles. I’d personally prefer to work in a building zoned commercial, without a family dwelling in sight. But that isn’t an option in this county presently. In fact of the office parks in the Seymour area, there isn’t a one that isn’t fronting or beside an apartment building, neighborhood or family home, including the mad jumble along Chapman Highway, south of the 411/441 traffic light, that backs up to a subdivision and will include entertainingly enough a funeral home next to doctors’ offices.
I believe everybody has a right to say what he or she thinks, even if I disagree. I have difficulty imagining you are using the “you better be local or be quiet” idea as a sales pitch to clients at the realtor’s office where your e-mail originated. This county has nearly doubled in size in the last twenty years and I can guarantee you its not all sons and daughters of “locals.” If you haven’t realized that people not born in Sevier County are on the verge of outnumbering those who were, you really haven’t grasped who is moving into all the new subdivisions.
Now to neaten the record a bit about me personally, I was born at Sevier County Hospital in 1974 and spent the next eighteen years growing up in Seymour. I did leave East Tennessee for a career in D.C. for a few years before returning, but can safely say I’ve resided in Sevier County for 2/3 of my life. That fact really shouldn’t matter, it doesn’t matter if someone’s family has been here since the Indian raids, the Johnson administration (like mine) or moved in over the holiday weekend. We all live here and we are all a part of this community and we all have a voice about what happens in this county.
I want to see this area grow in the new century, grow with responsibility and not fall victim to being loved to death in unplanned, over development. To honor your request, I have already gone back to where I came from, Seymour.
Please remember my opinion pieces are simply my opinions and NOT those of the publishers or advertisers of the Herald Newspapers or the owners of the Seymour Business Park, they are my own.