Commission against city's attempt to regulate subdivision

By Megan R. Harrell

Star Staff

   The County Commission voted Monday to uphold the Planning Commission's decision not to allow the city of Elizabethton to take over regulations for a subdivision. The subdivision is a part of the Urban Growth Area set aside by the 11-01 Growth Law.
   Carter County Director of Planning and Zoning Chris Scheuttler came before the commission to ask for its support on the issue that has resurfaced twice in the last 18 months. The city's decision to take over the subdivision regulations and the county's refusal to relinquish them is the latest in the struggle for jurisdiction struggle. The county has struggled with subdivisions being annexed into the city over the past several years.
   The County Planning Commission believes that it already provides the zoning regulatory services the area requires, so the city's request to take over the regulations is unfounded. Basically the regulations are the same, Scheuttler said.
   Although the city is not proposing an annexation of the subdivision, its request opens old wounds with the county. Carter County has lost thousands of dollars in property tax revenue as a result of the city's annexation.
   The future growth of the subdivision is the primary issue at hand. Some commissioners believe a compromise between the city and county would benefit the area the most. "It seems like to me there could be some type of cooperation between the city and the county to join resources to control these areas," County Commissioner Sid Cox said.
   County Executive Truman Clark is concerned about county citizens being regulated by the city that are unable to vote for city officials. "I do not like having someone telling me I can or cannot do something, when I can't go back to the ballot box and vote to authorize them to do it," Clark said.
   The 11-01 Urban Growth law does protect the county's interest in this situation. The city has to now prove that the county does not have plans for the area and that it is not supervising it. "I do not feel like the city is going to get this grant based on the information that I have at this time," Clark said.
   Clark has contacted the city of Elizabethton and asked them to withdraw their request to take over the subdivision regulations, but has yet to receive a reply. Clark will travel to Nashville where he will defend Carter County's regulatory interests.
   In other business, the commission passed a resolution to name a Hunter bridge in memorial to deceased Rev. Henry E. Colvard. Colvard was the former pastor of Hunter First Baptist Church. The bridge is located at the intersection of Broad St. and Hwy. 91.
   Carter County Chief Deputy James Parrish also testified before the commission. Parrish outlined the facility's need for additional space in order to keep its state certification.
   The county jail is currently operating approximately 70 inmates over capacity. The commission voted to allow the Law Enforcement Committee to proceed with locating architects to do the construction at the jail.