Surprisingly Entertaining Public Meetings on Hillside-Ridgetop Proposals Continue

The Joint City-County Task Force on Ridge, Slope, and Hillside Development and Protection has been working since last summer to create distinct guidelines for development on Knoxville and Knox County's hills and ridges. Its proposed policies include reducing road widths, reducing development density, reforestation, and limitation of large industrial and commercial development. They have started unveiling the proposals in a series of public meetings that began on Monday, July 13, when Knox County Commissioner Greg "Lumpy" Lambert angrily and repeatedly interrupted the proceedings, predicting shootings if the task force succeeded in getting new hillside and ridgetop regulations implemented. During the fourth meeting in Karns on July 16 Lambert again appeared and attempted to take over, asking that he be named moderator. County Commissioner Tony Norman, co-chair of the task force, told the News Sentinel on Friday that he may ask sheriff's deputies to be present at the remaining meetings.

Lambert, who believes that the policies being recommended by the task force will unnecessarily impede property owners' development rights and devalue hilly land, himself has a family interest in a hillside property in Northwest Knox County, a fact that some involved have cited as a possible conflict of interest.

The task force has put its full presentation online at All meetings begin at 6:30 p.m.

Upcoming meetings: Thursday, July 23, at the Powell Library, 330 West Emory Road.; Thursday, August 6, at the Deane Hill Recreation Center, 7400 Deane Hill Drive; Monday, August 10, at the Ramsey House, 2614 Thorn Grove Pike.