Bradley Couny rezoning rejected; traffic woes cited

photo Bradley County Commissioner Mel Griffith
Arkansas-Ole Miss Live Blog

CLEVELAND, Tenn. - Safety issues have run head-on into recent decisions about zoning and speed limits on a pair of Bradley County roads.

On Monday, Bradley County commissioners voted 10-1 to oppose a request to rezone an acre of residential property near the intersection of Hopewell Place and Georgetown Pike after local residents expressed concern about speeding and congestion.

Trying to turn onto Hopewell Place from Georgetown Pike is a dangerous move, residents say.

"You have to watch your rearview mirror before you turn because, if you don't, someone's going to pass and T-bone you," Hopewell Heights resident Tammy Hipps said. "It's happened to three of our neighbors. It's just a bad place."

The intersection was the site of a four-car pileup since the county's planning board reviewed the rezoning request in early September, Hipps said.

The change from residential to commercial would have little impact on traffic or neighborhood integrity, said Marty Fox, owner of Affordable Cabinets and Sheds who planned to build and live in a custom home on the site and display storage buildings for his business.

"I don't think it will be invasive to the neighborhood that is adjoining," said Fox.

His business is primarily Internet-driven, he said, but he wants to give easy access to the few customers who come to see him.

Even if the property does become zoned for commercial use, residents questioned whether it eventually would be swallowed up by the state as part of proposed improvements for Georgetown Pike, which is part of state Route 60.

The hearing and outcome were a repeat of a previous Bradley County Planning Commission meeting when that panel recommended against the request in a 7-1 vote. County Commissioner Mel Griffith, who serves on the planning board, cast the only vote of support during both hearings.

A much smaller stretch of road also has come under county scrutiny in the last month: Urbane Road, which stretches from the Tasso and Whisperwood communities to Stuart Road.

The road will undergo a traffic study to see if a speed-limit reduction is merited, said Griffith, who serves on the County Commission's Road Committee. The road now has a 45 mph speed limit, except at the intersection with Tri Circle, where it is reduced to 35 mph.

After monitoring the road for a few weeks in September, the Bradley County Sheriff's Office recommended the speed be reduced to 35 mph.

Urbane Road residents recently complained of commercial trucks that speed going to and coming from Tri-State Warehouses, which anchors the road next to Tasso and Whisperwood.

Paul Leach is based in Cleveland. Contact him at [email protected]