High density apartments could be coming to Jonesborough | WJHL

JONESBOROUGH, Tenn. (WJHL) – A high density apartment complex could be coming to Jonesborough.

The property between East Main Street and Chucks Alley Road, which is connected to Highway 11-E, is being requested to be rezoned from R-1 low-density residential areas and B-3 arterial business districts to become R-3 high-density residential areas.

The land is near the old Jonesborough Elementary School. Lowe’s and Pal’s are in the arterial business district.

Jonesborough Mayor Chuck Vest said there is a possible transfer of ownership of that land, and the new owners want to put in a high density apartment complex.

“I’m not comfortable with what might develop out there now,” said Mayor Vest. “Our planning commission, I think will make a good decision on what’s best for Main Street. We want to make sure that it continues and stays a nice neighborhood of single-family homes. What happens over near Lowe’s is debatable.”

Mayor Vest told News Channel 11 that he is concerned about the possibility of high-density apartments in that area.

“The amount of density that’s requested is a concern of mine,” he said. “And as is the effect on traffic on East Main and even on 11-E.”

Mark Shelton, a resident of Washington County, has lived near Jonesborough for 40 years and said he is also concerned about the dense development in that area.

“I’d be more in favor of single-family homes,” said Shelton. “I’m not against expansion but Jonesborough in itself, to me, is historic and should be kept small enough to be considered historic and not overly populated.”

Vest said in 2020, Jonesborough was one of the fastest growing areas, but the population is still under 7,000.

“The county has grown so, so much out in the western part of Washington County, and they flow through Jonesborough,” Vest said. “So it’s not necessarily the population that affects Jonesborough, it’s the traffic that must drive through Jonesborough.”

Shelton said he doesn’t believe high density apartments would be a good fit anywhere in Jonesborough.

“Keeping it family centered and a place where people can come and think of it as a small town, family oriented, not so much something that’s going to grow someday into a big metropolis, which I don’t think that’s going to happen, but you never know,” Shelton said.

The Jonesborough Planning Commission is recommending the denial of low-density residential areas being rezoned to high-density residential, but is in favor of rezoning the arterial business districts to high-density residential areas.

“These developments seek out Jonesborough,” Vest said. “We don’t seek them out. The property is currently zoned in a way that a person can develop them now. It’s still private property rights for individuals. But we’re happy if it doesn’t happen. And if it does, then we will react to it.”

Mayor Vest said the rezoning request might have been withdrawn, and even so, the development can still happen with the current zoning. The developer can also submit another request.

If the request is withdrawn, it will be removed from the planning commission’s agenda scheduled for Tuesday, June 4 at 8 a.m.

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