Sequoyah Hills residents fight to stop Kingston Pike property fr

Sequoyah Hills residents fight to stop Kingston Pike property from being developed

Posted:
The owners planned to demolish the 107-year-old house because it sat empty and didn't sell for years. The owners planned to demolish the 107-year-old house because it sat empty and didn't sell for years.
Knoxville, Tenn - By KAYLA STRAYER
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Some people in Sequoyah Hills are fighting for a historic home, trying to stop the property from being developed into condominiums. It's the Christenberry House, which sits between Kingston Pike and the Tennessee River.

The owners planned to demolish the 107-year-old house because it sat empty and didn't sell for years. The owners planned to demolish it. That's when developer Paul Murphy, who lives just two doors down, offered to buy the property.

"Paul Murphy stepped in, took out an option and developed a plan where he can save the house and develop condos on the land behind it. Neither the condos nor any parking will be visible from the road. The only difference in the view from Kingston Pike is instead of a ramshackle house that's falling apart, it will be restored and sold as a single family home," said Mike Cohen, Murphy's spokesman. 

During the Kingston Pike Sequoyah Hills Association's annual meeting Thursday night, residents spoke against the building the condos, saying it would hurt the history of the area, set a precedent for future development and create more traffic problems on Kingston Pike.

"Here's the problem, right now the choice is we rezone the property and save the house, or we don't rezone the property and lose the house. That's the choice that we're asking council members to make. What I want to do is change that choice," said resident Rich Tierney.

Laura Spica, a lifelong Sequoyah Hills resident, says the increased traffic is the main reason she's against the development.

"The Christenberry property, has only one way in and out because it backs up to the river. So all the traffic and all the cars will be flowing straight into the most congested corridor along Kingston Pike," Spica said.

Another resident, Chris Cherry teaches traffic engineering at UT and did a traffic study on the area. He says he's worried about cars turning in and out of the driveway.

"Increasing the number of vehicles coming in and out of that, particularly at the rates the developers are talking about, will dramatically increase safety problems on that stretch," said Cherry.

Not so says Mike Cohen, a spokesman for developer Paul Murphy.

"There's going to be 28 condos and all likelihood it is 50 or 56 cars. We think it would be sold partially to empty-nesters and people that are retired. It's just not a significant amount of traffic," said Cohen.

The developer did not attend Thursday night's meeting but sent 6 News about 20 letters from residents who support his development plans.

City Council votes June 10 on whether to allow the area to be rezoned from a low density property to planned residential. If council doesn't accept the proposal, some residents say they're willing to pool their money together to buy the property, fix it up and sell it as a single family home.
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