Planning Commission OKs Caswell Park land transfer

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The City Planning Commission voted Thursday evening to give 1.04 acres of property adjacent to Caswell Park to the Volunteer Ministry Center, for homeless housing units, but the number of units originally planned for the property has changed.

The commission voted for 24 units though VMC wanted to place 47. The Mayor Madeline Rogero’s administration has said the space was never considered part of the park and developing it for housing was part of an already approved plan.

The property was zoned RP-1 — not RP-3 — making the number of units allowed smaller than what was originally planned. RP-1 zoning allows for 24 units on per net acre. RP-3 zoning allows for 80 units per net acre.

“I know that all of us have had loved ones, or at least known of friends who have had loved ones who have struggled, almost from the day they were born, if I may put it that way, and who mature or become adults and have challenges of living in adult world,” Bruce Spangler of VMC said.

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Spangler said the space behind the ballfields at Caswell Park will allow the nonprofit to help more people who need it.

“We promise to be great neighbors,” he said. “At the end of the day, we’re committed to preventing and ending homelessness. We are committed to helping folks overcome that experience.”

The vote now goes to the City Council to approve the zoning change and give over the city-owned land to VMC.

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