I always figured the proposed Hillside and Ridgetop Protection Plan would be an uphill battle. And last week's County Commission meeting played out predictably with developers and their proxies lining up like a gang of homeowners association NIMBYs fighting against a new development.
I suspect the irony is lost on them. Mere months after harrumphing over the grassroots rabble-rousing that undid the Development Corporation's plan for its Midway Business Park, business boosters like Chamber CEO Mike Edwards are, with barely a moment's reflection, busy cheerleading a last-minute effort to monkeywrench a plan whose process was considerably more open than the one that drew up Midway.
Then there are the people pissed off about the plan's bonuses and offsets to promote denser development in the flatlands. Plan proponents say it's part of the compromise with developers (who, in yet another irony, often come before MPC and Commission seeking more density for their developments, not less). But a quick troll through the News Sentinel online comments reveals the shocking truth: It's nothing less than a coordinated attack on the American way of life.
That may be the biggest irony in all this: The idea that large-lot suburban living is the antithesis of the busybody social engineering of the sort favored by communists and/or new urbanists. (If you don't know what either term means, they become interchangeable, it seems.) In truth, social engineering liberals played a large part in creating the suburban sprawl that Tea Party types defend tooth and nail. Horrified by the crowded, polluted cities of the industrial age, progressive-minded reformers at the start of the 20th century pushed for zoning codes that enshrined things like large lots, deep setbacks and separation of uses. The crap currently cluttering up Kingston Pike may not have been what they had in mind, but that only proves that the road to hell isn't the only thing paved with good intentions.
I have no idea what sort of watered-down plan will emerge once the developers and their cronies are done with it. But I do know one surefire way to protect at least a small piece of Knox County's remaining wilderness. This cozy cabin in South Knoxville sits on 2.37 pristine acres. Built on an open plan with a large loft, the cabin is loaded with hardwood floors, skylights, and a claw-foot tub. There's central heat and air, along with a wood stove for you self-sufficient types, as well as mature fruit trees, a raised bed organic garden, and even two chicken coops. m
4631 Sevierville Pike
1,300 sq. ft cabin
Contact: Jack Powers