Tiny home community stalls in zoning appeals board meeting

LOCAL NEWS — It’s Thursday afternoon and the basement of the Moore County Building overflows with concerned citizens. Normally, Metro Zoning Appeal Board meetings are pretty uneventful affairs but tonight they will hear a special zoning exception for a proposed tiny home community named Retreat at Whiskey Creek. It’s been the talk of the town for the past several weeks and tonight everything seems to be coming to a head.

Board Chair Keith Moses seems determined to keep order. Prior to the meeting, he told The Times that anyone wishing to speak either for or against the issue would be limited to two minutes. The last meeting there was lots of discussion and he wants to make sure things don’t get out of hand. They didn’t. Those in the audience who came for a fight didn’t get one.

Judicial board that does not make laws

In his opening remarks, Moses reminded the audience that “the board serves in judiciary role” not an executive one. It echoed remarks he’d made in the April 8 meeting.

“This board is not about writing rules only the Metro Council writes rules. This board is about whether or not an exception to the rule will be accepted,” he said last month.

The rules he’s referring to is the current set of zoning ordinance approved by the Metro Council.

The land in question sits at 975 Main Street in Lynchburg in the footprint of the former Lynchburg Wilderness RV Park. The 23.56 acres lot is currently zoned for A-1 (agricultural/forestry) and Oakstone Land and Capital Company — the company developing the tiny home community — wanted it rezoned to R-1 (residential) to make room for 83 individual tracts.

Moses told the board and the public in attendance —including Oakstone’s Chip Hayes — that after speaking at length with Metro Attorney John T. Bobo, he’d concluded that the proposed tiny home community didn’t fit any of Metro’s current zoning categories.

“Yesterday, I spoke with our county’s legal counsel, John T. Bobo and Ginger Bobo Shofner, and they reviewed the sections of the ordinances that I just read. It is their legal opinion that the Metro Zoning Ordinances does not have a special use exception applicable to the matter before the board,” Moses said. “Specifically, there is no current classification that applies to this type of entity.”

And with that, he asked that the meeting be adjourned.

Issued stalled but isn’t dead

In the end, the issue stalled but lives to see another day. Moses suggested to Hayes that he pursue a Planned Unit Development (PUD) District for the land and conduct traffic and noise levels studies to satisfy any resistance from the public.

After the meeting, Hayes said the board’s decision caught him by surprise.

“I’ve come to the county for months on this asking for guidance and I don’t feel like we’re getting that right now.”

The homes proposed by Oakstone are tiny homes on permanent foundations not mobile homes. Many will be site build and the community will utilize a homeowner association. Go here and check out the gallery of images to see what other properties look like: https://www.retreattn.com/at/deer-lick-falls. •

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