I agree wholeheartedly with your May 17 editorial that the actions of the county planner and our county commissioners at the zoning hearings were a disgrace and were disturbing.
Over 100 concerned citizens showed up to voice their opinions, many having taken off work early or skipped dinner to do so. After they voiced their opinions they were promptly ignored. It was quite apparent from the beginning that the commissioners had no intention of listening to anyone; their minds were already made up. The citizens heard loud and clear that money talks in Sevier County, and the concerns of citizens don’t matter. Yes, feeling disenfranchised is what we have come to expect from our county officials.
No one has satisfactorily answered the allegation I made at the meeting that the C-2 zoning for the Webb Mountain Subdivision was obtained at a private meeting that violates the Sunshine Law of the state of Tennessee. Mr. Taylor, the county planner, just shrugged it off at the meeting, saying it did not happen, and no one else addressed the issue.
Mr. Taylor would have us believe that a banker in New York and a local developer made the decision without any of our public officials being involved. This is a major decision that will alter district one forever and should be closely scrutinized. The C-2 zoning for Webb Mountain seems to have just mysteriously manifested itself on the zoning map, and not one of our public officials will take responsibility for making the change. My allegation still stands and should be investigated.
The citizens’ concerns were definitely not heard, and many legitimate and important questions went unanswered. It is indeed a sad sight to witness public officials attempting to avoid addressing issues and trying to dodge the truth in a crowd of truth seekers.
I invite everyone to the next County Commission meeting to see for yourselves. I believe that County Mayor Larry Waters owes the citizens of Sevier County an explanation. Feeling disenfranchised is bad enough, but allowing even the appearance of unethical actions should never be tolerated for even one second. Our community deserves better, much better.
James J. WilsonSevierville
LETTER TO THE EDITOR