KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Homeowners in one West Knox County community are worried about the future of their neighborhood.
County commissioners earlier in the year rezoned property in the Millstone Lane neighborhood, just off South Peters Road, from agriculture to residential. Now a Knoxville developer is working to create a new neighborhood with more homes, right near their property lines.
“We saved our entire lives to build something like this,” said homeowner Michael Campbell.
The view in his backyard may be changing over time. A nearby neighbor sold their land and S&E Properties is creating a new neighborhood there. Campbell and his neighbors, who live on two acres or more of land, are worried about what their neighborhood will look like.
“This isn’t just vacant land. It’s beautiful. This is why we moved here. This is why our neighbors moved here. We asked them to do something special with it and all we got was just another cookie cutter neighborhood,” said Campbell.
The Metropolitan Planning Commission says its approved plans from April 2017 include 56 lots with a corresponding 56 homes. While there is no timeline yet, the road leading into the Millstone Lane neighborhood has to be fixed first. The development company cannot sell any lot until that’s done.
“West Valley track practices back here, families walk through here and getting through that choke point up there where you can come in and go out, it’s just going to destroy something,” added Campbell.
The road leading into their neighborhood right now is 12 to 14 feet wide. Crews with S&E Properties will be widening it to 20 feet, as well as adding sidewalk. Knox County Engineering will not be doing the work, but will be overseeing to make sure it meets county standards.
“The homes on the north side of Millstone are going to require the road to eat into significant amounts of their backyard,” said Campbell.
Plans do include new drainage systems for those homes – a concrete curb with pipes so that water will not flood those backyards.
“We understand there’s a housing capacity issue in Knoxville. We went to the developer to help work with us,” said Campbell.
MPC says more acreage in the same neighborhood is likely to be developed. Campbell feels like they’re not getting answers and they’re not sure if property values will go down.
“This is our dream home. We’ll do our best to build privacy.”
Knox County Commissioner John Schoonmaker says from a commission standpoint, there’s not much that can be done. He says when the land was first developed about 40 years ago, nothing legal was put in the deeds saying this property can only be used for residential of two or more acres of ground per house.
S&E Properties developer Scott Smith has not returned WATE 6 On Your Side’s voicemails or emails.
Knox County Engineering says they’ve recommended the development company to begin roadwork sooner, rather than later. MPC says the plans for the approved project are good for up to two years. The developer must have some movement on lots being sold, or the concept plan that was approved will time out.