Developer, citizens clash over Tanyard subdivision at Metro Planning meeting

A for sale sign sits on Tanyard Hill Road on a plot of land being considered for a subdivision development. In the distance is Campbell Lane. Traffic concerns revolving around that proximity were part of Tuesday’s Metro Planning Commission public comments. | A Lynchburg Times Photo

LOCAL NEWS | It’s 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, and the County Building basement is nearly standing room only. On today’s agenda sits the preliminary approval of a proposed Tanyard Hill subdivision, and two dozen locals are in attendance to voice their collective concerns.

After roll call and approval of the November meeting minutes, chair person Dexter Golden opens the floor to public comment and several locals voice their opposition to a 12-home subdivision being developed off Tanyard Hill Road near the intersection of Campbell Lane by area developer Joe Denby.

This is the second development in Moore County for Denby, who lives in Tullahoma. He’s also building a set of townhomes off the Majors Boulevard near the intersection of Highway 129.

During the public comment period, Kim Lehman voiced multiple concerns including vanishing farmland in our rural community.

“God isn’t making anymore farmland,” she stated.

Next up was Anthony Barnett who owns property on Norman Wiseman, Good Branch, and Tanyard Hill roads. His concerns centered on increased traffic, and environmental impacts such as water quality.

Later in the meeting, other citizens voiced additional concerns including water pressure issues and grey water from the project’s septic tanks seeping into to local springs and wells.

Private road easement in question

Following the public comment, Denby and local land surveyor Chris Bateman answered questions for the Commission including easements for the private road leading to the proposed subdivision.

Denby told the Commission that he’d spoken with MUD Manager Ronnie Cunningham about issuing water taps and “MUD has no issues.” He also stated that he’d previously conducted a soil science test prior to purchasing the property and that he’d be willing to conduct the traffic study suggested by Metro Highway Superintendent Shannon Cauble.

Cauble stated that any road going into the subdivision needed to be designed “by a licensed engineer.” Later in the meeting, she also expressed concerns about the subdivision entrance being located in a curve.

Denby: Can’t turn it down for life

“Jack is growing,” Denby stated after the public comment period. “And Moore County needs to grow with it. This is a great place to live and a lot more people want to live here. They have as much right as the people who already do.”

In the end, the six members present unanimously denied the approval of Denby’s plan based on the incomplete nature of the documents presented.

“This isn’t what I’d consider a preliminary,” chair person Golden stated. “This is really more of a sketch.”

Denby pushed back, asking the Commission to approved the plan with a list of required changes — essentially placing the liability back on the county.

The Commission declined. At first, they considered tabling the issue before finally denying it instead. Scott Fruehauf made that motion and Jimmy Hammond seconded it.

“You can’t turn it down for life,” Denby responded. “As long as I meet your legal requirements, it should be approved.”

On this point, Denby is correct. The job of the Metro Planning Commission is an executive and not a legislation one. Planning commission members do not create the ordinances and rules in the Metro Codes Book. That is the job of the Metro Council. Members merely evaluate projects against existing regulations and issue approvals and denials accordingly. If something sits outside of the scope of the current rules, the Commision refers the project to the Metro Board of Zoning Appeals. The Commission also holds no sway over things like septic approvals, which are controlled by state officials.

“I will fix what you’ve asked me to fix and come back,” Denby told the commission after the vote.

The Metro Planning Commission meets the first Tuesday of each month at 4:30 p.m. in the basement of the County Building. The next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, January 2. •

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