Skip to content Skip to left sidebar Skip to right sidebar Skip to footer

Historic Zoning Commission under fire

Less than a month ago, funnel clouds swept into the area, ravaging parts of Washington County but missing Jonesborough. Now, it seems Jonesborough is getting hit with a different kind of storm — one centering not around funnel clouds, but funnel cakes.
The sudden appearance of a red funnel cake trailer parked at the intersection of Fox and Main streets has several downtown business owners and local residents up in arms.
“It detracts from everything this historic town is supposed to be about,” said Steve Cook, owner of Jonesborough Art Glass Gallery in downtown. “It’s horrendous this has been allowed to happen.”
Several area residents and business owners are questioning the decision made by Jonesborough’s Historic Zoning Commission to allow the trailer to remain parked at the intersection.
“We just shook our heads when we saw it,” said Beverly Jenkins, who owns Main Street Cafe with her husband, Herman. “We have to have things approved for our businesses and our homes for all these years to uphold the historic value of this town. And we want to do that because we want our town to be preserved. So I don’t know why Historic Zoning would give permission for this.”
In April, the Historic Zoning Commission approved a request submitted by Pat Osborne to park the trailer at the corner of East Main and Fox streets.
According to minutes from the meeting, Osborne sought approval to use the space for special occasions, alternating between two different vehicles — the red trailer and a cabin-style wagon.
While there were no recorded minutes of whether the vehicle would be parked there permanently or stationed there only when in use, Osborne did tell the commission the trailer’s wheels would be covered and the tongue of the vehicle would be hidden from view by flowers and plants.
Osborne said she wanted to be open to sell funnel cakes on Friday nights as well as for advertised special events, including Jonesborough Days and the National Storytelling Festival.
Historic Zoning Commission member Nancy Hedberg made the motion to approve the use of either trailer on a temporary basis for the rest of the 2011 calendar year during special advertised events in town. The motion was seconded by Mark Edmonds.
The only dissenting vote was cast by Mitzi Sobol. Historic Zoning Commission member Dr. William Kennedy was absent from the meeting.
While Jenkins admits she is angry about the trailer being allowed to park at a main intersection leading into downtown, she said she is not angry with Osborne.
“My issue is not with her. She is doing what she has been given permission to do,” Jenkins said. “But I don’t know why they have given her that permission. It just doesn’t make sense to me. We want our town to be preserved. If you go to the town’s website, it’s promoting our history and encouraging people to come visit. Then you drive up to the stop sign and there’s a red funnel cake truck sitting there.
“This is our town and we don’t want it to get all muddled up.”
Phone calls to several members of the Historic Zoning Commission went unreturned.
The commission is scheduled to hold its next meeting on Thursday at 6 p.m. at Town Hall. Several area merchants and residents are expected to attend.