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Norris council approves zoning for boat storage, sales, service facility

The Norris City Council on Monday approved rezoning of two parcels along Andersonville Highway to accommodate a proposed boat sales, service and storage facility.

It was the final vote on zoning changes requested in January for the $3 million project, which would sell and service luxury boats and provide year-round protected storage for pleasure boats.

During the Feb. 13 council meeting, the council voted 5-0 and 3-2 to approve the two separate rezoning ordinances on first reading for the two tracts that would be used for the boat operation.

The council delayed the final vote on the changes during last week’s regular council meeting so that Councilman Bill Grieve could be present to vote on the measures. The council held a special meeting Monday evening just for the zoning votes.

James and Jessica Broyles of Jacksboro want to move their LaFollette business, Big Creek Marine, to the new site, which is between Exit 122 Outdoor Power Equipment and Meadow View Senior Living on the south side of Andersonville Highway.

The key to the move, however, was approval of the rezoning of a 2.65-acre lot fronting on Andersonville Highway at Acuff lane to C-2 Commercial from its current P-1 (Professional and Civic) status, and a 5.5-acre lot behind it to I-1 (Light Industrial) from its current P-1.

James Broyles said the front lot would be the site of the company’s boat sales and service operation, while the back lot would be used for covered, secure year-round boat storage.

The rezoning request — made by the current property owner, Clayton Holding Co. — was given preliminary approval by the Norris Planning Commission on Feb. 6, but final approval was required in the form of ordinances passed by the City Council.

The C-2 rezoning ordinance passed on a unanimous vote of the council, while the I-1 rezoning was approved by a 4-1 vote, with Mayor Chris Mitchell opposing it.

Broyles said he plans to pay Clayton HC $800,000 for the property, then spend about $3 million to build the structures for the boat sales, service and storage operations.

“We would employ five to six people to start, and we would hope to be open before the end of the [coming] season,” he said.

The two different zoning designations are necessary because Norris doesn’t allow this type of storage facility in a C-2 zone, but does allow such storage units in the I-1 industrial zone, by virtue of a separate ordinance approved by the council last week.

With the change to C-2, the front piece of property would be allowed to have the boat sales and service operations, but not storage.

But Mitchell said he was “struggling” with rezoning the rear tract to I-1 because it could open it up to manufacturing later if the boat business moves out.

During the first reading of the zoning ordinance Feb. 13 for the second tract, which would give it the industrial designation, Mitchell and Councilwoman Loretta Painter opposed it, making the vote 3-2.

Painter said she also had reservations about what might end up on the property if the boat facility were to close later. But on Monday night, she changed her vote and sided with the majority.

The project plans now must be submitted to the Norris Planning Commission for approval.

Mitchell said Monday night that he would support the project going forward.