Loudon redistricting plan draws Tellico Village complaint

By Hugh G. Willett

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Tellico Village is the fastest growing part of Loudon County but the affluent lakeside community may actually be losing political clout under a proposed redistricting plan.

The county's 7th District, which represents Tellico Village, will lose about 1,500 residents under a new plan that was approved by the county redistricting committee last week. The 1st District, which includes most of the city of Loudon, gains a little more than 1,100 residents.

The 4th District, which includes Philadelphia and the southern part of the county, increases by just over 300, including the addition of the well-to-do Rarity Bay development.

Some Tellico Village residents feel the redistricting, which affects County Commission and school board elections, will marginalize the growing clout of the upscale communities.

"Once more we are facing taxation without representation," said Tellico Village resident Pandora Vreeland.

Vreeland said she would have liked the committee to have allowed the 7th District to grow to a point where it would have two representatives on County Commission.

"We pay the lion's share of the taxes," she said.

According to the 2010 census, there are 6,600 residents in the Tellico Village district, a 24 percent increase over the past decade.

"If Tellico Village continues to grow faster than the rest of the county at some point it would make sense to have two commissioners," said 7th District Commissioner Don Miller.

The 7th District was created after the 2000 Census to account for the explosive growth in the lakeside community.

Under proposed redistricting, about 500 residents from the Tellico neighborhoods of Coyatee and Tommotley will move to the 1st District.

Rarity Bay will be moved into the 4th District.

With a population of about 48,000, Loudon County's 10 districts ought to break down to about 4,800 residents each.

Only District 1 representing Loudon 9,611 residents, District 2 representing Lenoir City with 9759 residents and District 5 representing the north part of the county with 9,827 residents, have two representatives on commission.

County commission will hold a public hearing on the redistricting plan Sept. 19. The commission will vote on the plan during its October meeting.