LAND USE MANAGEMENT PLAN PUBLIC MEETING MINUTES
8 JULY 2021
Attendees: Chairperson County Executive Melissa Greene; Commissioners Erin Curry, Tommy Pollard, Harold Brooks, David Wamble, Stoney Jackson, Terry Harwell, Larry Worsham, Roger Reedy, Duane Jones, Mike Cesarini, David Adams, Tracy Wilburn, Judy Pruett, Gayle Jones and County Attorney Lucy Henson, Speakers: Rosemary Martin, Sharon Rush, Chris Morris, Marlon Cooper, Thomas Dansicon, Janice Tucker, Annelle Guthrie, Andy Edwards, Connie Howell, Tonya Guthrie, Graham Stowe, and John Hornbuckle Other Approximately 30 other private citizens
Before opening the meeting County Executive Melissa Greene described the rules of the meeting, i.e. having a signup sheet for those wanting to speak for three minutes. Unused minutes could not be provided to a new speaker in addition to their three minutes. Only those signing would be speaking and would be taken in order of signature. Afterwards any Commissioner could speak, under no time restraints. Melissa opened the meeting by asking Commissioner Tommy Pollard to provide the prayer and lead the pledge.
Commissioner Gayle Jones questioned limiting the public to three minutes stating no Tennessee law identifies the time allowed, only done because traditionally had been done. She mentioned a previous lawsuit where the public hearing had not been done correctly to include timing allowed for public speakers. County Attorney Lucy Henson clarified that the law does not state a time frame, but the timing allowed was identified in the paper and is a precedent for other county meetings. Tommy said any change would have to go to the Legislative Committee and Lucy added to the full commission.
Melissa said the Planning Commission had recommended to rescind the current Land Use Management Plan, and on 19 July 2021 the full Commission will discuss and vote.
First Speaker – Rosemary Martin, from Campbellsville, asked that the Plan be left in place, since without one there would be no recourse. She further stated that the commissioners were elected to protect the land and she asked them to do so. Last comment, and from previous meeting discussions, if could depend on State laws for this, in a broader context wouldn’t need county government. Keep it.
Second Speaker – Sharon Rush, Lake Logan, had wanted to install a composting toilet. She called if there was a plan and was told yes, but unenforceable. She considered that irresponsible. She stated she believed in freedom but also responsibility. She stated need a manager for the plan otherwise unscrupulous people/entities will just dump on the county. She mentioned native Americans who loved and cared for the land and that land stays while people and companies do not.
Third Speaker – Chris Morris mentioned he was a Commissioner when the Plan was originally passed and some of the same concerns, e.g. adult entertainment, rock quarries are still being raised as concerns. His recommendation Keep it Simple. He mentioned four or five concerns and recommended addressing those, and move forward.
Fourth Speaker – Marlon Cooper who said he represented three families and they were opposed to zoning; didn’t need people telling them what to do with their own property.
Fifth Speaker – Thomas Dancison stated he came from Pennsylvania where he worked as a law clerk there. He stated the only people who profit from zoning are attorneys due to the lawsuits. He suggested that the county do separate ordinances on central issues. He asked for caution since he foresaw different treatment for subsets of people and also the cost involved in zoning.
Sixth Speaker – Janice Tucker suggested that in looking at how to make better to have input from all of Giles County, since almost all are property owners and are taxpayers.
Seventh Speaker – Annelle Guthrie mentioned she had fought zoning before but considering future changes that who gets to run zoning could be a powerful person in the county. She recommended Thomas Dancison if the decision required a manger. She also requested the commission do nothing rash.
Eigth Speaker – Andy Edwards mentioned with all the laws already in place that they should get rid of this plan and work at something afterwards.
Nineth Speaker – Connie Howell was a commissioner when was first approved and she voted against it then, reason being too broad. She asked if the plan is not removed, what is going to happen next? She questioned where was the map showing commercial, agriculture, etc. She said it is easy to say yes, hard to say no and that this could be the way to hurt your enemy, and help a friend.
Tenth Speaker- Tonya Guthrie said she had worked for a planning commission in a large county and the zoning costs, e.g. staff, facility, training, and other, were significant. She also indicated at that location, it was who you know. She said “Let property owners decide.”
Eleventh Speaker – Graham Stowe, having lived here for 12 years, moved here because of the freedom from so many legislations. He mentioned a previous state where he had lived and the many changes since his high school days. Those changes did not help poorer residents. From him, Land Use Management County belongs in other counties.
Twelfth Speaker – John Hornbuckle, a former policeman, sees this Plan as increasing cost and as an avenue for corruption.
After the public speakers, Commissioners then spoke.
Commission Tommy Pollard thanked everyone for their courtesy regardless of their position on this subject. Per Tommy the bottom line is the powerful and rich using control over the poor and middle class. Concerns of nuclear waste, medical waste and others aren’t even allowed per existing regulations. He did say however that the county does need a rock quarry.
Commissioner Roger Reedy talked of his neighborhood in earlier years and how things have changed now and that being similar to planning. He stated need something so that no exploitation of county resources happens. He mentioned previous problems with the additional rock quarries due to Hgwy 64 expansion and with one of the stewards of that quarry being negligent and with rocks flying. A revised plan would focus on industrial and there are fears that will morph into more but he said he had faith in Giles County citizens to keep that from happening. (a question was asked at this time by a private citizen and County Executive Greene said call your commissioners and ask rather than using this forum.)
Commissioner Mike Cesarini said his approach – make it harder for unwanted ventures to come here. He mentioned the Jackson law which had been referenced several times only covers landfills. Mike mentioned the county is growing and the state will be looking for more landfills. He mentioned newer technology relating to waste-to-energy plants, burning waste to make steam for generating electricity. This technology would also reduce the amount of material that would be buried in landfills. Other counties around Giles have a zoning plan, with the exception of Lawrence county. With our location, and entries onto I-65, that makes Giles county an excellent choice for such a plant and his experience with that type plant has been full of disgust. He mentioned trucks running 24-7 loaded with smelly material still apparent for miles around. Those trucks running side-by-side with school buses. And he said any good lawyer could get you a permit for such a plant. He ended by saying call me, my number is in the book (and on the county website).
Commission Gayle Jones said this plan would be taking the living away from people who wants to use their property for their income. She felt that with enough money you could put anything on your property you wanted, but without funding would be required to abide by the plan. She said call your commissioners.
Commissioner David Wamble asked the question “Will our current plan protect us from unwanted enterprises?’ Lucy answered by giving some background on enforcement, some being enforced by other than the County Executive while Giles currently shows our County Executive. She mentioned Sam Edwards, an Municipal Technical Advisory Service expert in the field, who had visited with discussion and training and from him, what would currently happen is that: County Executive would decide where request falls, e.g. Forest-Agricultural-Residential (FAR), and if there is a disagreement to an Appeals Board, a final recourse would be through the courts. This current plan is old, outdated, laws have changed, some protections but difficult to look at each specific request in those laws. Originally the idea by the Planning Commission was to keep the existing plan in place, until you could do modifications, then to full commission. This was Sam Edwards recommendation. This has now been more than a year. So today she could not answer with a simple yes/no.
Commission Stoney Jackson said that he had introduced the Jackson and Nuisance actions. In the last Planning Commission meeting he had moved that approximately $100K be set aside for enforcing this plan and that a previous action to fund a building/code inspector, and that both failed. If the county doesn’t have anybody to enforce, then the county is just “sitting ducks”. He further said there is a need for some kind of protection.
With no further Commissioners desiring to speak, County Executive Melissa Greene closed the meeting.