JOHNSON CITY - The presence of two newcomers and a change of heart for another member of the Johnson City Commission paved the way Thursday night for final approval of a long-awaited rezoning for the former Tennessee Valley Authority property.
After months of deferrals and several previous failed attempts at rezoning, new Commissioners Jeff Banyas and Marcy Walker voted in favor of rezoning the property on their first opportunity. Commissioner Steve Darden, who, as mayor, had been the swing vote on the issue - voting against rezoning the property to PB planned business zoning on third reading in November 2005 - joined Mayor Phil Roe and Vice Mayor Jane Myron in supporting developer Stewart Taylor's rezoning request.
The property has hung in limbo for nearly seven years, but Taylor is now free to develop his 8.6-acre tract at the corner of West Market Street and North State of Franklin Road. Taylor's plans show four medical/commercial/office structures, and discussions have revolved around one building becoming a Walgreens pharmacy, though Taylor said he has not had direct talks with the company.
The property had been zoned as R-4 residential since the 1950s - zoning for the site was never changed while the TVA service center occupied the tract because the federal government is exempt from the constraints of local zoning - but Taylor will now be allowed to develop the site under MS-1 medical/commercial zoning with several caveats.
First, Taylor must construct a road system within the development that will allow only for right turns into and out of the property itself, while a newly constructed access road will join the signalized intersection just south of the tract on the far side of the Washington County Health Department facility to allow left turns onto State of Franklin Road.
In addition, Taylor agreed to several restrictions beyond the scope of common MS-1 zoning, including:
â€¢No freestanding restaurants with drive-up windows.
â€¢No service/gas stations.
â€¢No more than one pharmacy.
â€¢No more than one restaurant.