SUBCOMMITTEE OF THE REGIONAL PLANNING COMMITTEE MINUTES, 16 DECEMBER 2021
ATTENDEES: Members of the Subcommittee, Chairman Scott Stewart, Bill Myers; Kristen Pfeiffer; Roger Reedy Others present: Commissioners Tommy Pollard, Gayle Jones, David Adams, Mike Cesarini; Other Planning Committee Member Malcolm Moore; Public Annelle Guthrie, Marlon Cooper, Jason Guthrie, Tonya Guthrie
The meeting opened with Tommy Pollard offering a prayer and leading the pledge to the American flag. Chairman Scott Stewart then thanked the individuals for attending, noting their care for Giles County. He then said the subcommittee had been formed to develop a focused approach to land use management. That approach will be tested through various entities, including a state attorney, the public, the planning commission and the full legislative body. He asked that all except the subcommittee hold their questions/comments until after the subcommittee had finished with their discussions. At that time all would be provided with time to speak. Scott then asked the subcommittee to identify what they see as concerns that would need to be addressed. Scott first identified his potential approach.
From Scott: Our charge will address noxious industrial uses, in particular heavy industrial use. Commercial and personal uses are not to be addressed. He noted that in this situation there will always be some happy to have protections identified and others will see that as impacting their personal freedoms. He was adamant however that only heavy industrial use would be addressed.
From Roger Reedy: The mission statement should include some guidelines for industrial entities that impact the landscape, the environment and/or safety issues to the citizens. Examples of wind farms and solar farms were mentioned. However almost all attending saw that an incinerator, if operated properly, would be needed in the future for the ever-increasing need for garbage disposal and which could generate electricity. Landfills also have the problem of leaving large swathes of land unusable for years. Prisons were also mentioned as possible inclusion. Scott then mentioned that a certain amount of infrastructure e.g. power, water, could be identified as being currently available and that infrastructure would show where the industries could be placed.
From Bill Meyers: Another approach or addition could be to develop kinds of impact, e.g. economy, quality of life, environment, by noting controls such as noise abatement, dust levels; use a simple framework and not infringe on people starting a business. Both Bill and Scott noted that depending on existing laws leaves citizens reacting to violators who have deep pockets. Scott stated that the existing laws would be incorporated in this subcommittee’s approach as well as local ordinances/laws. Scott then mentioned again that a map for the subcommittee’s use would be appropriate for specificity, given that attorneys would also desire a map.
Roger raised concerns on issues such as a rock crusher with rock being everywhere in Giles County. Scott added that several issues are covered by state law, one being rock crushers and another one being land fills. However, discussions with the state attorney may address some of these issues, including an incinerator, and that discussion won’t happen until after the Budget Committee meets. That committee will discuss the possibility of including funding for the subcommittee. Scott also mentioned the need for enforcing the approach. He stated he would be putting together a list of the questions/discussion for the state attorney.
Malcolm Moore: A concern – Once something like this is developed, there is a tendency to make it get tighter and tighter.
Gayle Jones: She discussed TN Chapter 1101 which included identifying a progressive growth area, and suggested that might be a starting point. And again, how to enforce was discussed as well as needing someone involved with this committee with this type experience.
Annelle Guthrie: She asked the question why isn’t somebody on this subcommittee with actual experience in this area and Scott answered that he intended to make use in the future of those who have already been identified, e.g. Thomas Dancison,Jr. as well as others.
David Adams: Mentioned that Inspectors have not always been an acceptable solution for enforcing.
Lois Aymett: The use of an existing map may not be as limiting as you envision, due to the industries need and their willingness to develop their own infrastructure.
Jason Guthrie: Spoke again on enforcement and Scott commented that hasn’t been discussed yet, but will be.
Mike Cesarini: Mike commented on the civility of today’s discussion and how much that was appreciated. He mentioned a previous date of two months for development, and that this is a compromise situation. He also mentioned why people are typically concerned about locations, i.e. decreased property values, roads needed, water impact. He gave a Texas example of where one county, both rural and impoverished, had no plan and were overburdened with unwanted services since no other Texas county wanted those services in their backyards. He compared Giles County as a similar situation with no protection unless a plan is developed.
Scott then reiterated that he would pull all of this together and that there would not be another meeting until the discussions with the state attorney. That could take place by Zoom. And again, that would not happen until after the County Budget Committee meets. Scott then adjourned the meeting.