Jefferson County homeowners plan to fight megasite buyouts

Jefferson County homeowners plan to fight megasite buyouts

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Bob and Joann Bruce's home is surrounded by green farmland, and is next to the interstate. Bob and Joann Bruce's home is surrounded by green farmland, and is next to the interstate.
Bob Bruce reads a letter he received informing him about the megasite plan. Bob Bruce reads a letter he received informing him about the megasite plan.
"Folks in the county really are interested in jobs. They want their kids and grand kids to be able to work close to them and grow up," said Garrett Wagley of the Jefferson County Economic Development Oversight Committee. "Folks in the county really are interested in jobs. They want their kids and grand kids to be able to work close to them and grow up," said Garrett Wagley of the Jefferson County Economic Development Oversight Committee.
"If this is turned in to a big slab of concrete, you can't ever get a farm back. You can't plant one. You can't rebuild," said megasite opposer Buddy Carmichael. "If this is turned in to a big slab of concrete, you can't ever get a farm back. You can't plant one. You can't rebuild," said megasite opposer Buddy Carmichael.

By JESSA LEWIS
6 News Reporter

DANDRIDGE (WATE) - The proposed megasite in Jefferson County is meeting opposition from homeowners.

Several families who live where the site would be constructed say they do not want to move.

Bob and Joann Bruce's home is surrounded by green farmland, and is next to the interstate.

That's why developers are considering it as part of the proposed megasite in Jefferson County.

"I'm not opposed to jobs. The only thing I'm opposed to is at my expense. The take from me is greater than what I would get out of it," said homeowner Bob Bruce.

Since last week's announcement of the megasite, the Bruces have been visited twice by a development company about the project.

"They indicated they'd like to purchase this property or someone they worked for would like to purchase this property. I told them it wasn't for sale and the conversation more or less ended along those lines," Bruce added.

The Economic Development Oversight Committee said it is answering questions about the project and why it could be a game-changer for Jefferson County.

"Folks in the county really are interested in jobs. They want their kids and grand kids to be able to work close to them and grow up," said Garrett Wagley of the Jefferson County Economic Development Oversight Committee.

The committee wants to convince the more than 100 landowners to sell through an open process, and by answering any questions that come about.

"We have no intent to use eminent domain," Wagley stated.

But not everyone wants to leave the rolling hills and old barns that have been in their families for generations.

"It is my own. It's what I've grown up knowing, loving, working on. If this is turned in to a big slab of concrete, you can't ever get a farm back. You can't plant one. You can't rebuild," said megasite opposer Buddy Carmichael.

The landowners are holding a meeting Thursday, January 17 to discuss the project. It will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Hampton Inn in Dandridge.

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