Issues and Concerns to contact your government about
- Ground and surface water quality will be damaged with the addition of 80 houses and septic systems on the mountain top.
- Habitat destruction will harm the animals and the plants-especially located so close to the National Park.
- Ridge top development is harmful to the ecosystem and is a visual blight.
- The largest industry in Blount County is tourism. If we destroy our scenic beauty, we are destroying that industry as well.
- The Planning Commission no longer requires an Environmental Impact Study in order to minimize the effects of building in critical habitat areas. Developers should have to consider environmental effects.
- The Planning Commission is too top heavy on supporting developers rather than on preserving the rural character of Blount County.
- Studies have shown that developments cost the tax payers more money than the taxes that they bring in. Developers are reaping windfall profits at the tax payers' cost.
- Property taxes will go up with this development.
The amended regulations also take out the requirement for an Impact Assessment, which required developers to address important issues such as increases in traffic, changes in existing surface drainage, increased consumption of ground water, pollution of air or water, land erosion, sedimentation, loss of tree cover, disturbance of other aspects of the natural ecology, and harmony with the character of surroundings.
(1) The Blount County Planning Commission have approved a modification of their zoning restrictions so that the Harmony Property Group can subdivide their land to put 80 lots on 140 acres, which means a lot size of 1.5 acres. The land was previously zoned R-2 which limits the minimum lot size to 5 acres. (Click here for details) The reduced lot size on this steep and rocky land will increase the chance of problems with septic and drainage systems. All of this could have negative future impacts on the watershed of Great Smoky Mountain National Park.
(2) This land is very rugged; the elevation changes of 800 ft. (from 1600 to 2400 ft.) (Click here for pictures & maps). To access this land, private roads will have to be built that cross some very steep ravines. Without major grading and filling, the grade of these roads will exceed 30 percent. Any grading or filling done on this terrain can have a major impact on the watershed of Great Smoky Mountain National Park.
(3) The only public access to this land is by way of Happy Valley Road over Chilhowee Mountain (Click here for maps). This is a steep, narrow mountain road (Click here for pictures) with sharp switchbacks (In some places it is only 18ft. wide from the mountainside to the drop off). In addition, the road suffers from additional problems. There is a spring percolating water up through the blacktop in one place and, in another, a section of the road and its guardrail is sagging and appears to be in the process of breaking off the mountain (Click here for pictures). The present condition of this road should be examined carefully prior to its new use for emergency vehicles and construction equipment.