Developer Stops Work on State Land
A Bristol, Tenn., businessman was ordered Wednesday (March 12) to vacate state-owned property where he has been operating a campground for NASCAR race fans, state officials said.
Stan Lady, who operates a camping and parking lot in Bristol, said he planned to purchase the state parcel and join it with a partial lot currently inside Pioneer Subdivision, according to TriCities.com., Johnson City, Tenn.
Lady, who lives on property adjacent to the campground, bulldozed a portion of the subdivision lot in preparation and tore down about 200 feet of state-owned fencing that divided the parcel from the state property.
He does not own either lot and had no permit to do the bulldozing.
"He has been informed to vacate the state right of way immediately," said Travis Brickey, Tennessee Department of Transportation spokesman. "TDOT will be installing a temporary fence in the same place where it originally stood. There will be signs posted that identify the land as state owned.
"He was conducting business on state property, and his request for the land is still pending," Brickey said.
On Tuesday, only a chain-link fence separated Lady from two angry men during a verbal confrontation.
"You’re getting greedy, and this is being overlooked because of the (NASCAR) race," Bill Hightower told Lady as he pointed his finger at him.
Hightower’s mother owns a nearby lot in the subdivision, as does Ron Neil, who joined in the 15-minute dispute.
"You’re trying to bully your way through this," Neil barked through the fence.
Lady, owner of Lady Equipment Co., told the men he thought the state property came with a parcel of land he purchased from the state in 2003. He also said he is trying to buy the state land but has no deed for a lot on which he charges "three or four" campers $150 a week to park and set up a tent.
"I don’t want you to write in the paper that I’m using state right of way for campers," Lady warned the Herald Courier reporter who witnessed the confrontation.
In a telephone call on Tuesday to the newspaper’s managing editor, Lady repeatedly said, "This is a bunch of bull crap."
When told of the state’s confirmation Tuesday that he did not own the land in question, Lady responded: "Tell Bruton Smith (Bristol Motor Speedway owner) to move the track. There’s nothing I can do about it."
After some name-calling and finger-pointing over the fence Tuesday, Lady admitted to the men he "may have put the cart before the horse" by tearing down the fencing.
"It’s just a big stink now," he said. "I shouldn’t have taken the fence down. I agree there. I shouldn’t have done that. But I knew I was buying it."