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JONESBOROUGH, Tenn. (WJHL) –The Washington County Commission took the first step towards allowing a new campsite to open along the Nolichucky River.
The commission voted 14-1 to approve a rezoning request for a 90-acre lot off Taylor Bridge Road, moving the land use designation from agriculture to agriculture business, despite pushback from neighbors. Commissioner Jodi Jones was the sole vote against the rezoning.
Terry Montgomery currently operates a wedding venue on the premises–a use that was permitted under its previous zoning category–and hopes to build a high-end campground and RV park on the land as well.
Montgomery says he thinks a business like his will be in high demand.
“There’s nothing in this local area that I know is at the standard of what I want it to be,” Montgomery told News Channel 11. “I have a lot of friends that are campers, that have got high dollar campers. They want somewhere to go that is really nice. And that’s basically my goal is to build the nicest campground in this part of the county.”
But residents like Dee Maggio say they’re concerned about how an influx of RVs could disrupt the rural neighborhood they love.
“It’s serene,” Maggio told News Channel 11. “We have the great blue heron which is a protected species that nests right near where that RV park is. We have bald eagles. We have an abundance of wildlife; bear, turkeys, you name it. That is what we want.”
Maggio said she also worries about the danger of wide RVs traveling up the narrow road to the campsite.
“We’re so narrow, we don’t get a white line on the outside,” Maggio said.
Montgomery says he’s heard neighbor’s concerns—but thinks development is coming to the area with or without him.
“If I don’t do it, someone else will down the road, things are gonna change because the popularity of the area,” said Montgomery.
Now that he’s secured zoning approval, Montgomery will have to clear site plans with the planning commission. Those plans will have to meet county standards for campgrounds.