By Brooke Stevenson
Four lots in a residential neighborhood of Seymour will remain zoned as General Commercial.
Though some residents claim that it was a mistake to zone four lots in the 100 block of Sky Drive as a General Commercial District, or C-2, the Sevier County Commission voted against changing the zoning of the properties to residential.
The property’s zoning as C-2 has been cause four complaint for those who live in the immediate area once Jesse Cook bought the property and announced his plans to build apartment buildings.
Some residents say the lots were zoned as a Rural Residential District, or R-1, in 2006 when the zoning resolution was voted on. However, there is a lack of proof that the zoning of the property has been change from R-1 to C-2.
A General Commercial District is established to create areas for compatible business activities requiring high visibility and accessibility, according to the 2006 resolution. The resolution also states that the requirement of the C-2 district is designed to encourage commercial establishments in high traffic areas for maximum convenience of local residents and regional travelers.
Resident Mark D’Alessandro, who made the formal request to the commission to rezone the property, does not believe that the lots on Sky Drive meet the requirements of the C-2 zoning.
“The definition of commercial property in the 2006 zoning resolution specifically states that commercial property is highly accessible and highly visible,” D’Alessandro said. “This property is neither.”
He added that he does not believe that his request is to rezone the lots, but to simply correct the mistake made when they were zoned as general commercial.
“This is also not an issue of our neighborhood against one man,” D’Alessandro said. “The issue is that the property in question was given the zoning commercial by mistake.”
The concerns residents of the neighborhood have about the apartments ranged from drainage issues, to traffic issues, to safety issues, to hillside collapse, to increased crime.
Seymour resident and Realtor Chuck Cook said he believed the area should be kept zoned as commercial.
“This is definitely an emotional issue for some people,” Chuck Cook said, “and that is definitely not an excuse to ignore the facts at hand.
“This property was developed several years ago for commercial and multiple family use. It was deemed that day by Sevier County and it remains that way today.
“Jesse Cook has plans to develop this property for the very purpose for which it was set aside.”
Jesse cook said since the property is zoned for commercial he intends to use it commercially.
“The engineering drawings are ready to go,” Jesse Cook said. “There will be 24 apartments and that is what I plan to do. That is what I bought it for and that is what I plan to use it for.”
Commissioner Bill Oakes said he agreed with D’Alessandro that the zoning for the property should be changed from general commercial to residential, which he said it was intended for in the first place.
Oakes made a motion to, “grant D’Alessandro’s request to return to the way that (the commission) originally intended it as residential.”
The motion was denied by a 15 to 8 vote by the commission and the property will remain zoned as general commercial.