$6 Million,  $250,000 per acre




UPDATE - County Road Giveaway

By: Pat Hunter

March 9, 2009


Does this piece of property look familiar? If you guessed that this property is located along Scenic Highway 321, past JBs Market on your way to Maryville you guessed correctly.


Do you remember when Loudon County Commissioners voted to abandon Holston Rd, an old county road and pretty much give it away to a developer for a pittance?


Months later, a for sale sign appeared at the corner of the commercial development. According to a real estate website, 24-acres of prime retail development is located at the entrance of new large residential development fronting on Hwy. 321, which is purportedly being marketed for $6 Million and/or $250,000 per acre.


This property started off as the Joyce and Donald Leo property. The Leo development proposal gained planning and commission approval, which included commercial fronting Highway 321 and proposed residential development. Emily’s Landing is a proposed gated community, which has yet to occur.





The property was the old Williams farmstead. According to the News Herald, “…The land, owned by Donald and Joyce Leo, has been in Joyce Williams Leo's family for five generations, dating back to 1829. Her father originally developed a portion of the land now known as Fort Loudon Estates. According to Joyce Leo, the couple foresees "a huge improvement and contribution to the neighborhood."


The Leo’s promoted the idea of building a quality development and sought input from neighbors only to later sell out to a developer. Commissioner Bob Franke also pitched the idea of a quality development to other residents who had concerns in his district.  


On September 8, 2008, Planner Russ Newman with the Loudon County Office of Planning and Development urged commissioners to vote to abandon and close 2100’ of county road, Holston Road between JBs Market, Ft. Loudon Estates 1 and 2. A public hearing was held to close the road and at least two people spoke about the closure and abandonment of Holston Rd. One taxpayer felt that the county road should be sold for fair market value rather than a taxpayer giveaway. Lip service was given to the two taxpayers and commissioners voted unanimously to close 2,100 ft. Holston Rd. The road was to be deeded to the developer and the developer was purportedly to reimburse Loudon County about $3,900 for paving and the cost associated with preparing the deed.  


Some of the same commissioners are now talking about being fiscally responsible while they consider raising property taxes. This sweetheart deal appeared to give away a valuable county taxpayer asset, a long county road, which greatly enhanced the developer’s property and soon to be pocketbook!




Click to view background - past issues

Taxpayer Asset - Giveaway Update


Another Taxpayer Give Away