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Boones Creek Corridor discussion continues

Discussion regarding a joint vision for growth along Boones Creek Road was continued Nov. 18 during the first meeting of the Boones Creek Corridor Subcommittee.
The decision to establish a subcommittee was made earlier in the month when city and county planning commissions met to consider the implications of rezoning a portion of the road to B-3 General Business District.
Two requests for B-3 zoning in the section beginning at the train trestle and ending on the Jonesborough side of Bugaboo Springs Road prompted commissioners to begin formalizing guidelines for development during the next 10-20 years.
Johnson City Senior Planner Angie Charles said a shared agreement on long-term growth among the government entities, including the Town of Jonesborough, would help determine the response to zoning requests.
According to Charles, any development located in what is primarily zoned agriculture and mixed use is grandfathered in. “You can’t make zoning retroactive,” she said.
In addition, she noted, the city has a zoning overlay that can govern building facades, with single family residences being an exception.
Landowner Charles Dyer said individuals are buying small houses and turning them into business that are becoming an eyesore. “I see it becoming more of a problem,” he said. “They’re a mess.”
City planning commissioner Uwe Rothe said the section of Boones Creek Road under consideration is the gateway to Jonesborough.
According to Town Administrator Bob Browning, Jonesborough already has an R-4 zone in place, which limits building size, gas stations and mini markets.
“We didn’t want big box retails so we set up guidelines,” he said. “There is a lot of buffering required in R-4 zones.”
Browning said town leaders also negotiate with new businesses, such as Food City, to meet the guidelines. “If everyone could be on the same page of what we’re trying to do with the gateway, it would be better,” he said. “We’re a small town, and we’re pretty conservative.”
Highway Superintendent Johnny Deakins said he thinks it would be reasonable to have a mix of zoning with businesses on the frontage, adding that the topography is going to determine what is done regarding development.
“One thing we haven’t talked about is the Med-Tech Corridor and whether it’s going to be extended,” he said. “It’s almost full, which is something we need to consider.”
Charles said the city’s planning staff will gather additional input and come back with suggestions for the group.
The next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 19, at 10 a.m. in the first floor conference room in the downtown courthouse.