County Resends No Message to Campground

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September 17, 2013 by   - () Leave a Comment

Boone Lake Reservoir is located on the South Fork Holston River in northeast Tennessee. The reservoir is named for frontiersman Daniel Boone, who played a major role in the history of the area. Photo courtesy of Tennessee Valley Authority

The third time was not a charm for Marty Judd. Sullivan County commissioners again denied Judd’s application for a zoning change on property he owns on Boone Lake in northeastern Tennessee.

For the past three years, Judd has applied for a change in zoning on the 25-acre parcel so that he can build campground off Devault Bridge Road,, Bristol, Va., reported.

Sullivan County Director of Planning and Codes Ambre Torbett said planning staff opposes the application. The other properties near Judd’s land are either residential or agricultural, and Torbett said the campground does not fit with the area.

The Planning Commission had recommended adoption of the zoning request.

Judd said he believes the project is suitable with the community and a need exists for campgrounds in Sullivan County. He said Cabela’s and Bass Pro Shop are building retail centers in the region, and those are both businesses that cater to campers.

“Do you want to support those big businesses by bringing in more campgrounds?” Judd asked.

During the hearing, Judd and Commissioner Dwight King, of Piney Flats, had a testy exchange. King said the application was “spot zoning” because no other campgrounds exist in the area. He said Judd has tried to bully his neighbors into supporting the campground by threatening to place a hog farm or mobile home park on the property.

“That was a threat to your neighbors,” King said. “I don’t take that lightly.”

Judd denied the accusation and said King was not talking about issues that pertained to the application.

“I haven’t made any threats,” Judd said.

Commissioner Cathy Armstrong, of Bristol, became upset with King’s line of questioning during the hearing.

“This is a personal attack, and it needs to stop,” Armstrong said.

Mayor Steve Godsey eventually gaveled the room back to order.

A large number of Judd’s neighbors spoke in opposition to the application.

Bill Burger owns a farm that is adjacent to Judd’s property. He said the campground would lower property values and keep high-priced home construction from taking place on the lake.

“You are invading on the neighbors,” Burger said.

Suzanne Holley said she is tired of Judd continuing to apply for a rezoning request. He does not care about the community and is only interested in making money.

“It’s almost borderline harassment to be here over and over again,” Holley said.

Only eight of the 24 commissioners voted in favor of the application. Many were concerned about the safety of access to Devault Bridge Road, and others were worried about potential problems with a septic system next to the lake.


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