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Resident asks developers to honor prior projects

A rezoning request for a new subdivision had one Washington County resident making a plea for developers to remember the neighborhoods not completed before moving on to the next one.
During the July 1 meeting of the Washington County Regional Planning Commission, members considered a request from Shadden Springs Partnership, GP to rezone 52 acres along Hales Chapel and Shadden roads from A-1 General Agriculture District to R-1 Low Density Residential District.
A staff recommendation indicates the property has adequate infrastructure for residential use, and while the rezoning would reduce agricultural lands, it would not be out of character with the immediate area.
Mark Larkey, who serves on the planning and county commissions, spoke in favor of the project during the public hearing. “I’m one of the partners, and we’re very optimistic,” he said. Other partners in Shadden Springs are Ron Gouge, Carl Little and Joe Wilson.
According to Larkey, the 55 lots are located in the Sulphur Springs school district and water service would be provided by the City of Johnson City. The sewer service would be handled through a septic system, and the county would have no utilities on the property.
When an invitation for other comments was made, Jay Poole of Barton’s Creek Subdivision came forward.
“I know since 2009, it been a tough time for developers, and I’m in favor of this project,” Poole said.
However, Poole expressed concern about developers who begin new subdivisions before filling the prior ones. “One problem is when it’s time to turn it over to the neighborhood and there are still lots not sold that need to be maintained,” he said. “I would like the developer to take care of his neighborhood before moving on.”
Planning Commissioner Johnny Shadden asked what the subdivision’s regulations had to say about the maintenance, and Poole read from the covenant agreement that states all lots, whether improved or unimproved, must be mowed on a regular basis.
“What the developer is trying to do is put it off on the neighborhood to mow,” Poole said, referring to a letter that indicates residents must come up with approximately $3,200 to pay for mowing the 14 lots that have not been sold.
“Who is the letter from?” Commissioner George E. “Skip” Oldham asked, and Poole said owner Joe Wilson. Barton’s Creek was developed by Wilson and Terranera Inc.
Planning Commissioner Chuck Mason recommended calling the City of Johnson City for appropriate action.
“It’s nothing personal against Mr. Wilson,” Poole said. “We just want to make sure the (subdivisions) developed from 2009 don’t get forgotten.”
Rutherford said a specific reference to maintenance was added to the private restrictions for the Shadden Springs development. “The R-1 district also offers more protection for property value, which is why the rezoning was recommended.”
No one spoke against the request during the public hearing.
A motion from Commissioner Daryl Rowe to recommend the rezoning was approved, with Larkey recusing himself from the vote.
In a follow-up interview, Wilson disputed information shared by Poole during the meeting.
“I have not sent a letter, and I am not asking anyone to maintain my property,” Wilson said. “Do I keep it looking like someone’s yard – no; do I maintain it to the best of my ability – yes.”
Wilson also disagreed with the number of unsold lots in Barton’s Creek. A call to his office confirmed only six lots are remaining, less than half of Poole’s claim.
“I think they’re trying to set up a homeowners association, and I told them if they wanted to mow it more often than I am, they could,” he said.