Allegations levied against Sevier County officials concerning possible violations of Tennessee’s Sunshine Law are simply not true.
That’s according to County Planner David Taylor, who said he hopes the accusations are looked into. “I hope there is an investigation,” Taylor told The Herald Thursday. “That way this can all be cleared up.”
The allegations stem from a formal complaint signed by 13 residents of District 1 who believe a change in zoning from agriculture to commercial was performed without comment or even knowledge from those residents.
Taylor maintains the zoning classification for a Webb Mountain development was handled the same as other property classification processes, and that adequate opportunity for public comment was allowed.
Taylor also explained an extra process was part of this particular zoning. “We appointed a (separate) committee,” he said. “It included (three) members of the planning commission, (three) members of the county commission and (three) citizens from the District.”
There were nine members on this newly-formed committee, which Taylor said gathered the information on the zoning maps to present to the planning commission.
However, Taylor noted that County Mayor Larry Waters was not part of this, or any, zoning or rezoning process. “He had no involvement whatsoever,” Taylor said. He explained the planning commission reviews potential zoning changes, and votes to approve or deny those changes. Those decisions are then handed to the county commissioners, who then make the decision to zone or not to zone.
Taylor did say Waters attended the first meeting of the specially-appointed committee, but still was not involved in the process of rezoning.
A copy of the complaint was delivered to District Attorney Al Schmutzer’s office Wednesday, but a final ruling on the matter has yet to be determined. He did tell The Herald Wednesday he reviewed the complaint and, “on its face, there appears to be no criminal violation.”
Taylor said zoning maps showing the Webb Mountain property as C-2 were reviewed by the Planning Commission earlier this month. Webb Mountain was not discussed at that meeting by the planning commissioners, nor by meeting attendees.
Editor’s note: Staff Writer Casey McMahan contributed to this report.... read the rest of the story by Subscribing now.