Residents oppose West Knox County luxury apartment complex

Residents oppose West Knox County luxury apartment complex and marina

The development, which has been named Westland Cove, will be located along Emory Church Road. The development, which has been named Westland Cove, will be located along Emory Church Road.

6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Plans to build a new luxury apartment complex and marina in West Knox County are facing opposition from residents.

The development, which has been named Westland Cove, will be located along Emory Church Road.

The Metropolitan Planning Commission approved Thursday night a recommendation to rezone the area to build the apartments.

Residents have been vocal of their opposition of the project, posting to social media and putting out signs encouraging people to text their support.

"Suddenly I will have over 500 neighbors 150 feet from my house in four story apartment buildings, said Becky Benson.

Neighbors say along with having the complex so close to their homes, they are also concerned about traffic problems and the environmental impact the development will have on the area.

Many were upset the MPC decided to approve the recommendation for the rezoning of the area.

"We would figure it would follow the guidelines that have been established by the county," said Ed Benson.

Developer John Huber issued this statement about all of the resident's concerns:

"We recognize and are very sensitive to the fact that the development poses change for the people living in the immediate area of Emory Church Road.  However, with a 14-1 vote it is apparent that the Metropolitan Planning Commission recognizes the need and understands that this project is compatible with the surrounding area.

"There are already 4 apartment complexes in a 1.5 mile radius of our development.  The Pellissippi Parkway / Westland Drive area is no longer rural in nature. There are over 100,000 people living within a 5 mile radius.

"We understand that there are existing problems with the Count roads in the area.  We have been working with Knox County Engineering and have committed to spending over $400,000 on safety improvements for these roads.

"We are also working with Knox County Parks and Recreation to allow access to an 80 acre parcel of lake front County land that is otherwise inaccessible.

"In an effort to conserve the head of the Sinking Creek embayment and buffer nearby residents, we are keeping over 27 acres surrounding the development as green space that will include walking trails."

The Knox County Commission will have the final say on rezoning for the area.

The Benson's are putting a lot of faith in their commissioner Dr. Richard Briggs to represent them.

"We hope he tries to convince other commissioners in other areas because this is not just our community," said Ed Benson.

Dr. Briggs, who represents the 5th district, says he is still learning more about this development and has not made a final decision on it, but plans to support the people who elected him.

"I've always been there," said Dr. Briggs. "I think if you look back at my record on other developments, even in that neighborhood, that I've always supported the people."

Neighbors in the community have hired attorney Wayne Kline to represent them in their fight.

Kline says they are planning to appeal the MPC's decision.

It will now be up to the County Commission to make the final decision at their Dec. 16 meeting.

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