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Bradley County Planning commission turns heads to the public, votes in favor of rezoning

In Agenda 21 on May 6, 2012 at 2:18 PM

About 100 concerned citizens filed into a Bradley County planning commission meeting to voice their discontent over zoning changes along hwy 60 that will intrude on people’s property and place the value of their land at a steep discount! “It’s not American, its not right, leave our land alone were the cries from throughout the room.”

New land use regulations are being put into affect and Bradley Countians are now being told by our local government appointees and committee members that what happens on your land will be dictated to you by planners and your elected officials!

You have not seen nothing yet. The Comprehensive plan that is up for a vote in the near future will be “on steroids” compared to the changes you are seeing right now! Commissioners will vote on a plan that will change your economic, social and environmental landscape for years to come.

PUD (Planned Urban Development) already in the early stages of development are even suggesting heavy fines and even jail time for non compliance. With the assistance of the EPA many Bradley countians and Clevelanders may do jail time possibly for one of hundreds of new land use regulations that may rain down on you. Perhaps not mowing your yard frequently enough or putting a little garden in your front yard? It’s real and it’s happening now. No longer are we thinking this may happen, it is upon us and soon will strangle us into behaving like a good little Socialist community!

You have been told by very expensive consultants that this plan has nothing to do with land use regulations when all along they know that it will! This is how this will be in part funded. Fines and taxes levied against you for non compliance will be the mechanism that makes this thing survive! Many in our local government are not educating themselves on the issues that will be affecting you directly, instead of listening to hundreds of angry constituents they will listen to a few consultants and perhaps a few state legislators who are saying this has nothing to do with Agenda 21, when it is Agenda 21, verbatim.

Many of our leaders are not being open and honest. They would rather play games than get to the heart of the issue. This is very serious and we should hold our elected leaders to an ultimatum. Protect our rights or get out so someone can!

It is really time we get busy and call our county commissioners and City Council and Mayors x 2 and tell them to vote NO on a few things that are definitely bothering you!

It’s time for a house cleaning and I can’t think of a better time than the next election cycle to do so. To have the planning commissioners that are vested and reap the benefit of their vote is a tragedy! When most of your planning members are realtors, builders and construction guys you got to know something smells.

It’s time to find representatives who are just that, REPRESENTATIVES of your district and of the people. Time to clean house folks, time to flip the house!

Read this below from the Banner reporter David Davis.

Bradley County Planning commissioners approved a rezoning request Tuesday over the objections of about 100 people, including two county commissioners, who crowded into the Bradley County Courthouse.

County Commissioners Terry Caywood and Ed Elkins, who both represent the 1st District, asked the planning board members to delay the vote.

“I’ve listened tonight to some of the opposition and I think what stuck with me the most is the lack of infrastructure, the environmental issues and traffic issues,” Elkins said. “I think we could do well if we at least got some additional information before you make a decision.”

Elkins said he would also like to know more about the intended use because that could have a strong bearing on the amount of opposition.

Planning commissioners voted 3-2 to approve the request from Judith Allen to rezone 223 acres bordering Georgetown Road and Francisco Road N.W. from Forestry/Agriculture/Residential to General Industrial. The motion to approve the request was made by Tom Crye and seconded by Bradley County Commissioner Mel Griffith. Voting in favor of the request were Crye, Griffith and Stacey Tucker. Voting against the request were Janie Bishop and Daryl Sneed. Planning Commission Chair Tony Young abstained because he and Allen are employed by Crye-Leike Real Estate Services. Commissioners Lisa Webb, Lindsay Hathcock and Greg Calfee were absent.

Bishop said after the meeting she voted no to rezone the property because she felt more information was needed concerning a plan of utility and transportation services.

Bradley County Planner Corey Divel recommended approval of the request based on the land use plan in which the property is identified as a potential site for industry, primarily as a warehouse. Also, the property is of substantial size to allow plenty of room for buffers.

A string of neighbors and members of the Bradley County Radio Control Model Aircraft Club expressed opposition to the zoning change. One man said his family has owned a farm in the vicinity for 100 years.

“People live in the county for a reason,” he said.

Another said he has owned property since 1973. He moved his family to Tennessee because his former state was careless with individual rights. He planned for his daughter to live on a portion of the property and become a member of the community.

Don Lewis said Tennessee Department of Transportation officials acknowledged at a recent public hearing that Highway 60 is too narrow and outdated to handle traffic. He asked planning commissioners to wait until TDOT provides more information on the route of the new road.

“I moved here four years ago because we wanted to get away from industry,” one of the neighbors said. “Preserve it as rural, the way it is.”

Young said at that point he would allow a couple of more speakers.

“I think we get the gist,” he said. “You are all against it.”

A real estate broker said the land is one of the prettiest places in Bradley County and, “I do not, nor my family, want it turned into an industrial park. What it is good for is raising cattle, kids and families.”

Radio controlled aircraft flyers rent property adjacent to the Allen property. The club president said sandhill cranes and blue herons use the property as well as the 50 club members.

One of hobbyists said he did not want to see any county in Tennessee invite retirees, such as himself, to live on nice, pristine land, then turn around and change it into smelly industrial land.

“Please leave this land the way it is,” he said.

Young said he serves on the Bradley/Cleveland Industrial Development Board in addition to the planning commission because the county is struggling to find space for warehouses. He said Interstate 75 Exit 20 will be retail because it is too cost-prohibitive for industry. Also, he said the proposed Spring Branch Industrial Park south of Exit 20 is still several years away.

He said the purpose of the open meeting was to allow the public the opportunity to guide the Planning Commission, “and that’s what everybody here has had the opportunity to do,” Young said. “We’re appointed members. Ultimately, we have no say in what happens here tonight. We simply make a recommendation to the Commission. They’ll be the ones that have the authority to vote this request up or down.”

Ronnie Davis, pastor of Mount Zion New Covenant Church of God, said he cannot do what he wants to do, but has to listen to the church board and congregation.

“I feel like we should have some say here and some impact on what we’re doing here,” he said. “If we don’t, we’ve lost what it is to be an American — we’ve lost it. Folks, we’ve got to have a stand. We’ve got to say what’s right and take a stand for what’s right. It’s not all about money. It’s about what’s right.”

Young said he serves on the nonpaying boards because, “My total interest is bringing jobs into the community so everyone’s children have places to work so they don’t have to move out of the community to find a job.”

The Bradley County Commission is scheduled to vote on the zoning change June 4.

73 percent of Charette attendees strongly disagree with Bradley County Comprehensive Plan

In Agenda 21, Government on April 28, 2012 at 12:10 PM

The overwhelming message from the recent Charette at the Bradley Square Mall in Cleveland Tennessee was the citizens of Cleveland and Bradley County Tennessee do not want this comprehensive plan or hire consultants from out of town for hundreds of thousands of dollars of our tax dollars who will leave our community with heavy new land use regulations that will infringe on our property rights and substantially increase our tax base and utility bills to fund it!

As a matter of fact 73 percent of all that attended the three day Charette disagreed or strongly disagreed with the plan that McBride, Dale and Clarion have devised at the behest of many citizen objections!

The results: Compiled from a review of surveys provided by planners at the Charette. (Video was taken of the surveys and complied in another setting!)

Northern Corridor- 85.7% disagree/strongly disagree
Central Corridor- 70.1% disagree/strongly disagree
Southern Corridor- 63.5% disagree/strongly disagree
Growth and Strategies- 56.5% disagree/strongly disagree

Summary- 73.1% of Bradley County/Cleveland residents in attendance disagree/strongly disagree with the BCC Strategic Growth/Comprehensive Plan

“I was very proud to see so many citizens of Bradley County show up in force to speak out against the terribly expensive and overreaching BCC Comprehensive Growth Plan” said Donny Harwood, Tea Party of Bradley County founder and organizer, while attending the Charette.

Many “regular citizens” among them, concerned, tax paying and voting Tea Party types also filed into the Charette! Many were upset for different reasons. The construction and plans around exit 20, the encroaching business parks being built around their homes, road supervisors saying your fence and trees need to come down, many in the McDonald area, hwy 60 business owners who will lose property, people upset a fence has to go around a creek so cattle can’t walk through it, people who dont want to be annexed or rezoned or dont want a commercial business in their back yards, citizens fined by the EPA, resounding constant chatter regarding property rights and the businesses getting chosen and given tax breaks the “regular” business person doesn’t get, the cost of the project and a whole slew of other concerns permeated the mall.

My observation was the planners were overwhelmed with the negative response and were left attempting to explain away the reason the results, questionnaires and comment cards came back overwhelmingly negative on members of the tea party. We are citizens too, we just happen to be involved, engaged and vocal about our discontent with this plan! There was no gerrymandering and no agenda was set forth! We happen to know what is going on and you ask for public input and you got it, that’s all! There were also many employees on the city/county payrolls that filled out a few ballots too or you may not have gotten even 23% to agree with you on the plan!

Consultant Greg Dale was overheard saying he didn’t have time to tally the results of the public input portion of the Charette but quickly changed his tone to say he was joking when he found out that many around him wanted to see the results and were disappointed the results were not tallied for public view. He went on to say he has never seen such a negative response where so many in the community didn’t even want a plan!

Although I was there the majority of the time to oversee the Charette I met many for the first time and was very glad to see so many respond that were not in the Tea Party! I think it is a testament to our county that so many “grassroots” people are becoming involved in our local governments affairs!

We are no longer living in a time when we can ignore what our planners via our locally elected officials are doing. Our community has come alive and we are seeing what is happening and we are no longer going to take haphazard plans laying down. We live in a different time and our current environment calls for the citizens to act in a different way! We can no longer be silent as our local governments do as they please often overlooking the will of the people. Making enemies of your concerned citizens is easy. Listening to them, absorbing what they are saying, responding and thanking God every day that you have “watchmen on the wall” is the difficult part that very few practice!

It was overheard and reported to me that one of the planners was going to say that the Tea Party was stacking the surveys to look negative! My response to that accusation is if the response was overwhelmingly positive they would have had no problem reporting those findings! This is also tyranny folks, fear and intimidation from your government with repercussion for your actions! This is the sad part inside our Republic!

The accusation that the Tea Party stacked the votes is actually a compliment and a testament to the reason that tea parties were formed! Just as they were formed to protest a tax on tea from India, so be it we protest when a group of consultants and planners in coordination with their local government propose billions of dollars in cost to the taxpayer and a disrespect for their property rights!

The bottom line is the citizens, albeit some in the Tea Party, which is their well defined role, projected a positive affect on it’s community by speaking up and out about this grossly expensive and expansive growth plan delivered by out of town consultants for over a half a million dollars!

One thing that the planners, consultants and elected officials forget is that those “awful” tea party types are citizens too who are engaged, cast votes and just happen to speak up and show up when asked to for public input. This is called patriotism! This is the direct result of a Republic intact, not a socialist wanna be community where everyone listens to whatever the government says and the people agreeably nod!

The “politicians” of Bradley County should be proud of it’s patriotic people who show up when asked instead of villifying the ones who exercise their God given rights to direct their government when they step out of line. Any attempt to “make the Tea Party look bad” will be a direct push to stop a free people from freely addressing a grieveance of their government.

The Comprehensive Growth plan is not a popular one, but the overriding determining factor, regardless of the will of the people is the perceived “relief” our community gets when you bombard it with federal grants and the likes. We have seen over and over again that “spending our way out of debt” is not the answer! Smaller government, less taxes, the free market and higher accountability is the answer.

Any attempts at this point to squelch the voice of the people looks socialistic, communistic or perhaps Marxist! The best move is to stand with the people! The people are fully within their constitutional boundary to limit the size of their government and the influence they have on our daily lives.

The battle being waged should not be on the people but on the bureaucracy we call our standing government. History will stand in favor of the people, bureaucrats inside the government will fade like a silent whisper.

For now, step outside your tightly wrapped box and see that the people have spoken loudly! Try as you may but our voices will not succumb to tyrannical role players inside a rusty machine!

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