Roane County marina operator says it was singled out over sign

Roane County marina operator says it was singled out over improper sign

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One of the managers at Schneider's Marina said the sign has been in the same location for 60 years and believes their marina has been singled out. One of the managers at Schneider's Marina said the sign has been in the same location for 60 years and believes their marina has been singled out.
The marina has been along Watt's Bar Lake and the Tennessee River since the early 1950's. It's one of several favorite parks for fishermen. The marina has been along Watt's Bar Lake and the Tennessee River since the early 1950's. It's one of several favorite parks for fishermen.
"They're saying it is too close to the highway. They told me the rule was 30 feet from the center of the highway to the sign," said assistant manager Tracey Coleman. "They're saying it is too close to the highway. They told me the rule was 30 feet from the center of the highway to the sign," said assistant manager Tracey Coleman.

By DON DARE
6 On Your Side Consumer Investigator

KINGSTON (WATE) - A marina operator in Roane County is asking why the business is being treated unfairly.

A sign directing traffic to their boat docks and RV park has to be moved, yet other signs along the same highway don't.

One of the managers at Schneider's Marina said the sign has been in the same location for 60 years and believes their marina has been singled out.

A big sign along the Highway 304 just south of Kingston directs motorists to Schneider's RV Park.

The marina has been along Watt's Bar Lake and the Tennessee River since the early 1950's. It's one of several favorite parks for fishermen.

The state says the location of the sign at the entrance of the park is dangerous and must come down.

"They're saying it is too close to the highway. They told me the rule was 30 feet from the center of the highway to the sign," said assistant manager Tracey Coleman. "I guess I was ignorant of knowing what the rules are until I got the letter.  Also, the sign has been in place since 1953.   Why was it never taken down since then if we are in violation?"

With the sign in this general location for decades, and no one ever complaining about it, a letter from the state declaring the sign is an "encroachment on the right of way" has the marina management asking, why now?

"I have contacted several people. They said someone could have reported it. Once we were reported, they came out and did their investigation," said Coleman.

Schneider's Park and Marina, formerly Bayside Marina, is owned by Alan Schneider.

"Alan purchased this place a little over two years ago and he has been hard at work," Coleman said.

She says new slips have been added to the marina recently, old RV sites have been replaced with new ones, and new utilities have been added to campsites.

Now the sign must come down by the end of March.

A relatively new water line and a buried fiber optic cable line are both 30 feet from the highway, in compliance with state highway rules.

However, other marina signs along Highway 304 are pretty close to the highway as well.

"I spent a whole day measuring signs and taking pictures. We're not the only one that is in violation," said Coleman.

We checked the distance from the center of the road to the Euchee Marina sign with a measuring meter. The distance was 23 feet.

We visited the office manager at Euchee Campground. Although their sign is close to the road, there's been no letter from state.

The sign at Blue Springs Marina is also 23 feet from the center of road, not 30.

Manager Larry Steidle said he hasn't received anything from the state and the sign has been there for nearly 35 years.

Since the sign must be moved 13 feet to the east at Schneider's Marina, management will first have to get permission from landowner.

The Tennessee Department of Transportation said it investigates hazards like this sign when brought to their attention.    

Tracey Coleman still wants to know why their sign was singled out.

"I don't think that's too fair," she said.

TDOT says it did not single out Schneider's Marina and RV Park, but instead there had been a complaint about the sign.

TDOT is responsible for maintaining 9,000 miles of roadway across 24 East Tennessee counties. As a result, we were told their crews can not inspect every sign. 

However, they do check on signs if there is a complaint. That's what happened in this case.

It's estimated it will cost several thousand dollars to move that sign at Schneider's Marina.

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