Residents of the Cogdill Road subdivision in Knox County were victorious on Tuesday in their battle to keep the office land near their homes zoned as is.
Land Rover Knoxville, owned by Sam Furrow, was seeking to expand the dealership currently located at 10215 Parkside Dr. in Knoxville onto a nearby property. Knoxville City Council denied the request to have that property rezoned after hearing the concerns of nearby residents.
Council members voted 6-3 to deny the rezoning request. George Wallace, Brenda Palmer, and Nick Pavlis supported the rezoning.
Cogdill Road residents filled several rows at Tuesday’s meeting to make their opinions known. Three community members spoke in opposition. Mr. Furrow did not attend; Rick Hinchey, chief financial officer of Land Rover Knoxville, and Lanny Cope of Cope Architecture spoke on behalf of his business.
Mr. Hinchey described efforts to address the neighborhood’s concerns, including the promise of installing “a wooden privacy/security fence” on either side of the “dense landscape buffer” that is included in the plan for the expanded dealership.
“Mr. Furrow, he wants to be a good neighbor, minimize the impact of the property’s use to the neighbors,” Mr. Hinchey said.
Mr. Cope displayed the updated plan, saying it “exceeds every requirement of the C-6 zone.”
Brian Johnson, resident of Land Oak Road, asked the council to deny the request on the grounds that “an office is much different than a car dealership.” He was referring to an agreement reached in 2008 in which the property was zoned for offices.
Wallace was skeptical of the neighborhood’s concerns. He said “I just don’t think the whole world’s going to fall in,” by way of addressing the concerns about falling property values, noise, and 24-hour light.
Vice Mayor Grieve pointed out other property farther down Parkside Drive that could be used for expansion. “What I think some of you are saying is, let’s sell out the neighborhood for business when there is other opportunities for Mr. Furrow,” he said.
The attending residents spontaneously cheered when the motion to deny was approved.
Ashley Key, who recently moved to the area so her 17-month-old daughter could grow up in a place with a neighborhood feel, said “I’m pretty happy, cause now I can walk my dog and walk with my daughter and teach her to ride a bike and not have to worry about cut-through traffic.”
Mr. Furrow’s representatives declined to comment.
Wallace, who supported the rezoning because his real estate experience led him to believe it was “appropriate,” said he assumes Mr. Furrow will find the highest and best use for the property in its current zone.