Fall Creek residents oppose 'vinyl ghetto'

Matthew Lane • Jan 14, 2008 at 12:00 AM

KINGSPORT — A group of Fall Creek residents are asking city leaders to vote down an annexation request in their community, with one person calling the proposed development a “vinyl ghetto.”

Kingsport has been planning to annex 255 acres of Warriors Path State Park as a way to reach a proposed 25-acre development off Fall Creek Road. Sullivan County residents Kenneth and Anita Bates requested annexation by the city and plan to develop the property into a new subdivision called “Chase Meadows.”

City planners and the Kingsport Regional Planning Commission have recommended going through the park to reach the development. However, after city leaders and officials received numerous complaints and concerns from Fall Creek residents about the route, City Manager John Campbell recommended the city annex the road through the park to reach the development and not annex any of the park property.

The Board of Mayor and Aldermen is slated to vote on the annexation request during its regular meeting tonight. As part of the request, the BMA will also consider rezoning the Bates property to planned development.

During a BMA work session Monday afternoon, several residents spoke against the park property annexation and the proposed development.

Gerald Latham, president of the homeowners association in Warrior Falls, said the home density in Chase Meadows would be four homes per acre and that Warrior Falls, which is adjacent to the proposed development, is 1.4 homes per acre.

“We’re concerned about Chase Meadows. It could very well be an asset to us and the Kingsport area, but we need to guard against the impact on our property values and our way of life,” Latham said. “We don’t know what to expect from Chase Meadows.”

Latham said the residents of Warrior Falls and other nearby neighborhoods need to have the final development plan for Chase Meadows, to evaluate and see how it might impact their lives.

A development plan has not been submitted to the city because the number of homes to be built depends on whether the property is annexed, Kenneth Bates said. Bates said if the property is annexed, there would be 102 single-family houses built.

Carolyn Nash said Chase Meadows would not be harmonious with the other homes in the area and questioned the amount of traffic associated with such a high-density development.

Peggy Callison, who lives in Warrior Falls, sent an e-mail to Alderman Pat Shull last week voicing her concerns with Chase Meadows.

“Kingsport’s city manager lives in my neighborhood. Are you not ashamed to bring another vinyl ghetto with smaller lots, various kinds of sheds in back yards when houses are quickly outgrown, old cars and pickup trucks that punctuate the lawns because driveways and garages are insufficient and the ever present barking dogs tied to immature trees to Mr. Campbell’s front door?” Callison wrote. “What are you thinking? What an insult to him and to the leaders of the community who live near him.”

CLICK HERE to read the full-text of the letter.

Callison, who has lived in Sullivan County for two years, said she was ashamed of what the BMA is planning to do.

“When we get e-mails like that it makes me think someone is above their raising,” Mayor Dennis Phillips said. “Everyone is entitled to live in a house of their dreams, and I don’t think what’s being proposed here will cause your property values to go down.

“Just because something is different than your house doesn’t mean it’s bad.”

Phillips noted the Bates property could be subdivided and have double-wide mobile homes placed on it right now.

Reached by phone Monday night, Kenneth Bates said he does not have concrete numbers on the projected price of the homes, but said they would be single-family, at least 2,000 square feet and made of brick, stone and other materials. No vinyl siding would be allowed on the houses in Chase Meadows, something Bates said Warrior Falls could not claim.

Bates has lived in Kingsport for over 50 years, and Chase Meadows marks his first housing development. He said the opposition to Chase Meadows is due of a lack of understanding. Bates said he wants to create a new kind of community, one that is close-knit with strict covenants on the properties. A logo is being worked on to help with the marketing of the new neighborhood.

“We want to do something to be proud of,” Bates said.

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