Metro Council tables rezoning issue until August meeting
LYNCHBURG, Tenn. — An effort to start a canoe and kayak rental business near the Edde Bend community was met with strong opposition during Monday night’s Metropolitan Lynchburg/Moore County Council meeting.
Several members of the Edde Bend community turned out for a public hearing prior to the second reading of a rezoning request for a one-acre parcel at 1640 Edde Bend Rd. owned by Timothy McLaughlin. The one acre is a portion of a larger four-acre plot owned by McLaughlin.
His request for the rezoning of the property from A-1 (agriculture) to C-1 (commercial) was heard by the Council during its regular June meeting. At the June meeting, the Council voted in favor of rezoning the property. On Monday, however, the Council decided to table the motion after hearing from a handful of community members.
“We’re not saying that we hate anybody or anything. We’re not trying to be ugly, but we are very concerned about this and nothing was said to anybody that lives in Edde Bend about this at all,” Laura Long told the Council. “We all live down there. We like where we’re at. We like our community and we try to talk with each other. We’re a farming community and we’re very concerned about the increase of people coming in, the traffic … a lot of these people coming in, I’ll tell you what, we’ve had some rude people coming in there.
“We don’t really want any added traffic.”
Long said she and other members of the community have had issues with trespassing and vandalism. She also questioned if rezoning the property to C-1 would open it up to the potential of other businesses on the property in the future, such as a campground.
“What if he decides to sell it?” she asked. “I’m not hip on the idea, but it’s not my property. I wouldn’t want anybody telling me what to do with my property and I don’t want to tell somebody else what to do with theirs,” Long continued. “I want to be a good neighbor, but we’ve been out there for a long time and we like our slow way of living out there. We don’t want to see it damaged any more than it already has been from the Elk River (Canoe Rental company).”
Other community members — about five property owners addressed the Council — agreed with Long. Concerns about trash, trespassing, destruction of property, theft and an increase in traffic flow were the primary themes.
“On weekends, like this time of year, it’s like dodge ball with vehicles out there sometimes,” said resident Steve Nichols, who owns farm land on each side of the Elk River public access point. “I’ve had to take the ditch on Edde Bend … Hurdlow Hill … cars drag racing up it.
“That landing … this room (the meeting room at the American Legion building) is probably three or four times bigger than that landing. If you put three or four cars at the landing, there’s no way to turn around down there to back a trailer down to the river.
“So they back up to where they can back down in my field again and mash my hay down. I’ve had ‘em go out and do doughnuts. Mr. Logan (Sheriff Mark Logan), he can pretty much testify to all this because it’s a nuisance to them to drive all the way out there. I went out there three of four weeks ago and somebody had a pup tent set up in my field, and that night there were 30 or 40 cars out in my hayfield.”
Matt Thornberry said he moved into the community to “primarily get away.” Thornberry said he’s constantly picking up garbage along the fence rows and has had to repair fences that have been backed over.
“I hate to tell a man what to do with his property, I really do; I’m conflicted about that,” said Thornberry. “But I think there needs to be some type of regulation that goes along with the land, or at least the norms for the neighborhood. Nobody would want a 7-Eleven moving in there five years down the line.”
With the concerns shown by community members, councilman Denning Harder made a motion to push the second reading of the rezoning to the Council’s August meeting in order to give council members an opportunity to visit the area for themselves.
Harder said he would like to be more familiar with the area before the Council voted, and the Council agreed. Patrick Maynard seconded the motion. They then voted to push the second reading to August.
“I personally would like to have the month to go take a look myself,” said Harder.
McLaughlin — who has already purchased a van, has a trailer and has purchased canoes and kayaks — said he agreed with the majority of what those speaking out were saying. He offered to put up security cameras in an effort to monitor the area.
“They’re all exactly right. But maybe this will cut down on traffic,” said McLaughlin.
—By ROBERT HOLMAN, Publisher (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Follow us on Twitter: @TheMooreCoNews