Lenoir City Regional Planning Commission

 

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Debbie Hines (r) Herb Lingenfelter, Rita Dunn, and Russ Newman

Approves Cap Fees from $500 to $1000

By: Pat Hunter

October 13, 2008

 

Loudon City approved fees, Lenoir City approved higher cap fees and soon the Loudon County Regional Planning Commission will consider raising fees, too. The Lenoir City Regional Planning Commission met last Tuesday (October 7th) and approved raising fees from $500 to $1000; the new cap will be $1000.

 

Almost everyone had something to say about the matter. Itís a bad, bad time, Councilman Eddie Simpson commented, we need to tighten up our belts. Simpson is a developer and businessman. A person in the audience also voiced his concerns. Tooter Robinette, developer and businessman and Lenoir City mayoral candidate asked, is your reserves down because your business is down? Planner Newman answered, yes it is. From a developerís point, itís not a good time to raise fees, commented Robinette. Someone in the room mentioned that there were people out there loosing homes. Robinette commented that he thought the planning office did a good job but that it was bad timing from his standpoint.

 

Planning Commissioner Kenneth Wilkerson asked whose going to pay the bills? It doesnít matter, if we build them and canít sell them, thereís no need to developing them Robinette replied.  There are 500 empty lots that are sitting in Loudon County that you canít sell, he commented. Part of it is fees, impact fees, raised rates and utilities and some is greedy contractors.

 

The discussion drifted to the bad economy and then Chairperson Monty Ross asked in a bare whisper, do we have a motion, as planning members Councilman Eddie Simpson, Barry White and Bill Thomas looked down.

 

Chairperson Monty Ross argued the case for the planning office, that fees were needed because the planning office had not raised fees in several years. According to Robertís Rules of Order, the presiding officer should not enter into a discussion of the merits of the pending questions, unless in rare instances, he leaves the chair until the pending business has been disposed. It seems like the Lenoir City Regional Planning commission members and planner Russ Newman, desperately need a crash course in Robertís Rules of Order.

 

Simpson looked over and smiled and commented, I make a motion to deny it. Ross asked Simpson, is that a motion, ďno, Iím just teasing you, Simpson replied.

 

A motion was then made by planning member Rita Dunn to raise the cap fee to $1000 but there was no second. Codes Officer Leslie Johnson asked whether Loudon City and Loudon County had voted to raise the fees. Planner Newman replied Loudon City had but Loudon County had not at this time. Simpson wanted to know if the County would pass the fees but Newman replied that he did not know.

 

We're just raising the cap, planning member Herb Linginfelter asked Planner Newman? Yes it is and it only affects the very large properties, Newman responded. After giving more thought, Linginfelter agreed to second Planning member Rita Dunnís motion. The motion passed with a voice vote and one no vote.       

 

Several weeks ago, other fees were approved by the Loudon County Executive Council. According to planner Russ Newman, at least half of the planning budget comes from fees and because of dwindling reserves the Loudon County Executive Council approved certain increases after the planning office was forced to lay off an assistant planning employee.

 

 

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10-14-2008