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Planning Commission denies rezoning request

Jonesborough leaders denied a rezoning request from a man trying to improve his elderly father’s living conditions.
Tom Leonard spoke at the Sept. 18 meeting of the Jonesborough Planning Commission, telling commissioners he wanted to move a single-wide mobile home onto his father’s property at 161 Ridge Crest Road.
To do so, the property would have to be rezoned from Residential-1 to Agriculture-1. A-1 zoning is the only zoning that allows for single-wide trailers.
The property is in Washington County, however it is just outside town limits.
According to Town Administrator Bob Browning, the land does fall into the town’s “planning region,” but has not been considered for annexation.
Chuck Vest, a town alderman and member of the Planning Commission, aired concerns with rezoning the entire 7 acres of Leonard property.
“The worst thing about A-1 is that it allows so many things. You could put a convenience center in there. You can even, I think, land a small aircraft in there,” Vest said. “It probably makes more sense to not rezone this whole property.”
Vest recommended the Leonards make a request to rezone just the area that would be needed to put in the mobile home.
But a neighbor of the Leonards spoke against the approval of any rezoning of the property.
“I don’t want house trailers put in there because it devalues my land and everyone’s around it,” said James Rice, who owns the property at 1705 Hwy. 81 South, just north of the land being considered for rezoning. “I’m adamantly against it. Once you get one (mobile home) started, they just keep coming in.”
The Planning Commission unanimously denied the rezoning request, but did suggest the Leonards talk with county officials about subdividing the land and getting just a portion of it rezoned for the mobile home.
The Washington County Zoning Office also recommended against the rezoning, noting that the area around the Leonard property is “clearly residential and not agriculture” and would be zoned residential if it was annexed into city limits.