A rezoning request by Valley Growers Garden Center was denied Thursday by the Rutherford County Commission after residents of Brandywood subdivision in Lascassas argued against the commercial business.
Rutherford County residents argued before the County Commission for nearly two hours to deny a rezoning request by Jim and Susie Tramel, owners of Valley Growers, a local greenhouse and nursery, that has leased their current location for 12 years.
Many residents were concerned about more traffic coming to an area that, they say, is already having issues and were adamant they do not want a commercial business so close to their neighborhood.
“I don’t know of anyone who wants to wake up and see this,” said neighbor Lonnie McMillan.
The local greenhouse is currently located about 2 miles from the site it is seeking to rezone at 3642 Lascassas Pike. Residents were upset because the new location is strictly residential with the exception of a chiropractic office located in a home.
Residents of Brandywood subdivision provided a petition with more than 100 signatures from neighbors who are against allowing Valley Growers to do business in the potential location.
A petition in favor of the business was also submitted, however, the majority of signatures were from residents living outside a two mile radius of the location.
Susie Tramel addressed the commission explaining why the new location was important to her.
“We are successful because of the Lascassas community,” she said. “We have rented for the last 12 years. I love our current location, but it’s time to find a permanent home because this business is something my family wants to do for a long time.”
Tramel also said she understands residents are not upset with Valley Growers as many of the complainants are faithful customers, but do not approve of the new location. She said the location has been for sale for quite some time and there is not another appropriate property available in the community.
Joe Powell, who lives next door to the site, said he was concerned about the company selling mulch.
“The proposed plan that they have shows that they will have mulch there. That mulch is gonna be right where the water runs off on my property. We’re gonna get that plus the smell,” he said. “We don’t want it in our community.”
Angela Starkey, who owns the chiropractic office located in the neighborhood, said the Tramels were being selfish.
“I think it’s selfish on their part to want to put their place in the middle of our homes. I moved here from Florida for the country experience, and now, I gotta' worry about a garden place next to me or Ace Hardware whatever you want to call it,” Starkey said.
Jim Tramel also spoke as he seemed to be upset with how the process was going.
“I’ve had one of the worst experiences I have ever had dealing with this situation,” he said. “On Lascassas Pike, that Dollar General was approved on a residential piece of property that the commission voted to bring in. Have we got to be a Dollar General to get any type of respect around here?”
Tramel also said he felt small business was getting pushed out.
He expressed confusion pointing to the Dollar General being approved, as well as the chiropractic office while his request was denied.
Commissioner Jeff Phillips (Dist. 17), chairman of the Planning Commission, was greeted with applause for his final comment before the vote.
“I think the rights of property owners of the 100 people who live there speaks volumes," he said. "We are looking at zoning commercial property in a residential neighborhood. My issue with this is that it will be the only commercial zone in this neighborhood, and if it passes, I guarantee it won’t be the last."
The County Commission voted 14-7 to deny the request.