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Zoning Office to maintain earlier notification

Stonegate Developers may have decided not to pursue the $12 million Hickory Springs Road project, but Zoning Administrator Mike Rutherford said bringing residents into the discussion earlier is a process his office will continue.
“We took the element of surprise away with the letter inviting them to learn about a proposed development,” Rutherford said of the concept to build as many as 150 apartments on 50 wooded acres off of Sinking Creek Road.
The neighborhood meeting held March 12 allowed residents of the area to ask questions and raise concerns with the developers prior to approaching the city’s planning commission to request a zoning reclassification.
Despite the overall negative reaction from citizens who filled the Zoning Office conference room, Stonegate Partner Dale Tweedy said the meeting was worthwhile.
“It was well organized, and they made some good points,” Tweedy said. “This information is always helpful.”
Rutherford said environmental concerns may have been the primary reason Stonegate Developers decided not to move forward. “I think they started thinking about the environmental concerns and the substantial challenge to be in compliance during the development,” he said.
Conducting the required mass grading on a mountain closely located to a stream owned by Johnson City needs to be a long-term project, Rutherford said, and Stonegate Developers was hoping to complete the project in 18 months.
The benefit of bringing the two parties together early in the process is worth repeating, according to Rutherford. “I think it ended well, with the residents being satisfied, and we were able to do it for the cost of postage.
“At this point, it’s a dead issue in Washington County unless they come forward to make application for rezoning,” he said.