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Historic Zoning discusses funnel cake trailer

Members of Jonesborough’s Historic Zoning Commission briefly discussed the issue of a funnel cake trailer in the town’s Historic District at their June 9 meeting.
In April, the commission approved a request submitted by Pat Osborne to park the trailer at the corner of Fox and Main streets. Osborne sought approval to use the space for special occasions.
Osborne, who also owns Scott County Lavender in downtown, 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.
Approval was granted for Osborne to use the trailer on a temporary basis for the remainder of the calendar year.
Following the appearance of the trailer at the gateway to downtown, several area business owners and residents expressed concern about allowing the red food trailer to set up shop at the intersection.
Town Attorney Jim Wheeler chimed in on the issue late last month, noting that the decision was likely not just that of the Historic Zoning Commission.
Calling the issue an “onion” with many layers, Wheeler said Osborne may have needed to go through other boards and committees before being allowed to open her funnel cake trailer.
At the June 9 meeting, several commission members agreed with Wheeler, saying the issue should not have fallen to the Historic Zoning Commission in the first place.
Some even said they thought Osborne had already gone through other town committees before coming to the HZC. Others seemed to be unsure of what they had agreed to with the granting of a certificate of appropriateness to operate on a temporary basis.
“At first I was under the impression she was going to bring it in for the special occasion and then move it out,” said commission member William Stout, whose comment was echoed by member Emma Treadway.
“But then I realized that was not going to be practical,” Stout continued. “Especially after having her position it like we did so that the (Farmers Market) mural could still be seen.”
Commission member Nancy Hedberg said she made a motion back in April to approve the trailer because she felt it was a “good compromise.”
“It seemed like the landscaping (requirement) and the temporary permission were a good compromise for what she was asking,” Hedberg said. “That’s what she asked for when she came to us. She asked us to leave it there through the season.”
Commission member Ruth Verhegge agreed it was a good compromise.
“We wanted to get a feel for what it was going to look like, how it’d be maintained and all of the ramifications,” Verhegge said. “I assumed she had been through all of the other things she needed to do to get her permits.”
Dr. William Kennedy, who led the discussion at the meeting, said more work needed to be done to clarify what exactly the job of the HZC is in approving such items.
“It’s almost like this is in a different category, these temporary kinds of businesses,” he said. “We don’t have anything to do with land use. That’s not our area of work. The aesthetics is what we are supposed to be dealing with.”