So tonight I go to the first public meeting of this task force. The task force was presenting its recommendations and taking comments (a copy of the presentation and schedule of additional meetings at (link...)).

The presentation was interesting (I do recommend ya'll take a look at it if you can't make a meeting); the questions/comments were moving along productively - and then Lumpy showed up.


I've watched Lumpy for a long time, and I know he's capable of a pretty high level of misbehavior, but he really outdid himself tonight. He just would NOT shut up - kept making the same point over and over - and basically took over the meeting.

He had two basic grievances. One of that he wasn't allowed to be on the task force, for which he blames co-chairs Tony Norman and Joe Hultquist. In all fairness, I'm sure they didn't want him, but it was Council and Commission who appointed the members. But that didn't stop him from personally attacking Tony about six times.

The second grievance was that he owned a piece of property on a ridge on Clinton Highway that had been in his family for FIFTY YEARS - and "you people," dang it, aren't gonna deny me the best use of MY property." (The property is now zoned ag, which means it can only be developed at one dwelling unit/acre, and he has absolutely no legal expectation that he will ever get it rezoned, even if none of these new recommendations are enacted. Pointing that out to him was, of course, waving the red flag at the proverbial bull.)

He went on about his granddaddy and his poor gnarled hands and how HE didn't work for the government (slam at Tony Norman) and HIS $$$ was tied up in property since HE didn't have a 401K (slam at everybody there pretty much).

We managed to change the subject a couple of times, but the third time he really let it rip. He got louder and louder and ended up on his feet, yelling his head off. "Pretty soon somebody is gonna bring a gun to the City/County Building and shoot ALL of us and we'll DESERVE it!"

At this point, I realized that he was sitting there with a gun in his holster or pocket or wherever the heck he keeps it. I've never actually been scared of a public official before.

Lumpy is, of course, entitled to his opinion and to advocate for it. But this was a shameful performance, and I very much hope he doesn't show up at the rest of the public meetings and do the very same thing.

Rachel's picture

The KNS reporter is

The KNS reporter is apparently afraid of Lumpy too - no mention that he even attended the meeting.

SnM's picture

there oughtta be a law

but naw, lumpy's got a right to pack just about anywhere nowadays. but he really shouldn't get a pass on this kind of veiled threat.

Q.F.B's picture

Veiled Threat

Lumpy was the one behind the push to allow commercial landscaping into Knox County neighborhoods. He really showed himself at several meetings on the subject.

When the entire Knox County Commission voted for a Resolution telling the MPC not to consider the agriculture zone for commercial landscaping he jumped the fence and voted with them 17-0.

Only to come back and fight hard for the new proposal when MPC decided to go against the Knox County Commissions Resolution anyway. That proposal died on the floor because Lumpy could not get a second for his motion to approve the MPC proposal.

After that he delivered a threat to one of the homeowners that has been involved in a law suit against the illegal operating business on Beaver Creek. He told her that hell was going to be unleashed on her now.

Yet that is not the end of the story.
Commercial landscaping is coming back. Same wolf in a new sheep skin. The plan is to allow ALL CONTRACTORS licensed or not, including commercial landscaping, as home occupations in Knox County. That would be a very bad thing for property owners. NO SAFETY NET ANYMORE. That was part of the proposal from the MPC that failed.

To say that ALL CONTRACTORS can be controlled with the home occupation guidelines & rules is a joke on Knox County property owners. The Codes Department only has three inspectors.

Commercial property sits unused everywhere. If commercial contractors are allowed to come into our neighborhoods as accepted home occupations it will change the face of Knox County forever. It will change more than the view, but it will make Lumpy happy. :)

Rachel's picture

The plan is to allow ALL

The plan is to allow ALL CONTRACTORS licensed or not, including commercial landscaping, as home occupations in Knox County. That would be a very bad thing for property owners. NO SAFETY NET ANYMORE. That was part of the proposal from the MPC that failed.

That's a bit misleading. Home occupations have to follow some pretty strict regulations:

A. No person other than household members residing on
the premises shall be engaged in such occupation.
B. Not more than twenty-five percent (25%) of the floor
area of the dwelling unit shall be used in the conduct of
the home occupation.
C. There shall be no change in the outside appearance of
the building or premises, nor outdoor storage of
anything other than vehicles, or other visible evidence
of the conduct of such home occupation with the
exception of signs as permitted in Section 3.90.
D. No home occupation shall be conducted in any
accessory building.
E. There shall be no sales in connection with such home
occupation other than sales of services or sales of
products produced on the premises.
F. No traffic shall be generated by such home occupation
in greater volumes than would normally be expected in
a residential neighborhood, and any need for parking
generated by the conduct of such home occupation
shall be off the street and other than in a required front
G. No equipment or process shall be used in such home
occupation that increases noise, vibration, glare, fumes,
odors, or electrical interference detectable to the normal
senses off the lot, if the occupation is conducted in a
house or attached house, or outside the dwelling unit if
conducted in other than a house or attached house.
H. No equipment or process shall be used which creates
visual or audible interference in any radio or television
receivers off the premises, or causes electrical
fluctuations in the line voltage off the premises.

Some small landscape contractors might be able to meet these requirements. The larger ones would not.

BTW, the "plan" may be to send this back through MPC and Commission, but I've not seen it yet.

Q.F.B's picture

Yes and I have some swamp

Yes and I have some swamp land to sell you in Tuckahole. Are you interested? ;)

Rachel's picture

Well, I guess that ends this

Well, I guess that ends this discussion.

James T's picture

Allowing commercial

Allowing commercial contractors to come into the Knoxville neighborhoods as home occupation is uncalled for. There is unused commercial property sitting everywhere. With only three codes inspectors this is just foolish to do this the the neighborhoods. Why impose this kind of ill will on homeowners? The list of contractors that could be mixed in with peoples homes is a very very long list. I agree this is something that all of us need to keep a eye on.

jbr's picture

Looks like quite a bit of

Looks like quite a bit of commercial property is sitting unused.

As large retailers shut doors, warehouse-like buildings sit unused

and that is just the vacant "big box" property.

Nobody's picture

they are here

best get busy because the contractors are already in residential and ag areas. They are ALREADY here so it makes sense to make sure there is something in the code to deal with it. Just saying no to any change won't do a bit of good.

CM's picture

There is something in the

There is something in the codes. It is called nonconforming use. That is followed by enforcement. Knox County has people that have that job title. Carson Dailey spelled it out at the last BZA meeting. He said that before we had our zoning laws people did what ever they wanted. Now we have the laws in place so bring the nonconforming uses in one at a time until the laws are enforced. He is right about enforcing the laws instead of changing them. That keeps the neighborhoods a place to live. Not a place for commercial use. Profit from others misery is wrong.

CM's picture


That swamp land should be protected for those long legged birds that live there. Perhaps the task force could purchase it. The ridgetops are very important to protect. The Knox County neighborhoods are as well. Commercial business belongs in a commercial zone. Everyone please call your Commissioner and ask that they continue to protect the landowners.

R. Neal's picture

Snark mashup: Link...

Snark mashup:


SnM's picture

thanks for the link

lumpy as a death metal aficionado seemed right

Coury Turczyn's picture

An actual story on the

An actual story on the altercation:


Rachel's picture

I wondered if Lumpy would

I wondered if Lumpy would admit making that statement.

It may not have been a direct threat, but it sure as heck was breathtakingly inappropriate coming from a public official. If Lumpy doesn't get that, he should get his rear end off County Commission.

Nobody's picture

video of meetings?

Does anybody know if these meeting are video taped? If Lumpy is going to act this way at every meeting, it needs to be recorded. This meeting wasn't even in his district, can you imagine the ugly scene he will make at the one for Powell.

Rachel's picture

Last night's meeting was not

Last night's meeting was not videotaped. I do hope some o the rest of them are.

Victor's picture

Well, this is typical of

Well, this is typical of these local committees. Loaded down with rednecks acting their IQ. Intelligent people don't want these positions because they know it is a pain in the rear for no reward and that's monetary or otherwise.
Kind of like president.... nobody wants it, it's not worth it.
So necks like the lumpster live out their glory days on these pathetic low level committees.

Rachel's picture

To be clear, Lumpy was not

To be clear, Lumpy was not on the task force. A lot of good people from different stakeholder groups were.

Lumpy was an audience member, and should have had the rights and responsibilities of any other audience member. Instead, he made it all about him.

Treehouse's picture


It wasn't a low level committee. The first ever city/county task force spent a year working on this and the presentation was very thorough. I could not believe two men could walk in after the presentation started and hijack the entire conversation. Lumpy and Lonnie cared nothing for anyone except themselves. Their arrogant and rude speech was an insult to the other attendees and the people who care about Knoxville. The moderators should have had much better control over the meeting. I was embarassed and angry that childish and stupid behaviour was allowed for five minutes let alone the whole meeting.

Lumpy is such a bully and a baby. He represents the selfish citizens of Knoxville who only care about their own property and view. If you want to see ridgetops and hillsides preserved, please go to these meetings, fill out the survey (which will be online soon) and show the lumps of Knoxville that this city is bigger than they are and there are good people who live here and care and show up to make life better for everybody.

Rachel's picture

The presentation, complete

The presentation, complete with proposals, is here.

Meeting schedule is here.

Comment form is here.

Please provide your input. And I'd love to hear some discussion on this forum. Don't let Lumpy be the loudest voice.

sclark's picture

Halls meeting

Attendance at Halls meeting was abysmal.

Four task force members (Norman, Jernigan, Frith, Vandergriff)

One reporter

Two county commissioners (Smith and Carringer) and one wannabe (McMilan)

Three citizens (Lonnie; a woman who didn't talk; and Maurice, an unemployed guy from Whittle Springs)

Frith dueled with Lonnie. Call it a draw. -- s.

Up Goose Creek's picture


It was a rather cordial meeting at MLB tonight. 8-10 civilians. We all seemed to agree there was a problem with the bonding process because bankrupt developers have been walking away from their performance bonds, leaving the city/county holding the bag. This is something to consider if a revegetation bond is required.

Mr. Harris (is that Lonnie?) came to speak for property owners/potential developers. (Shareholders vs stakeholders) He may have been surprised that I was there as a "shareholder" as I have been aquiring lots, most of them could be affected by this ordinance.

There was some discussion about why do developers clearcut lots, especially when the market supports higher values for wooded lots. Someone suggested education programs for bulldozer operators. Mr. Harris brought up a good point that almost all the photos were of bad examples, we need more examples of what would be considered good development.

There MUST be a pony in here somewhere!

Stick Thrower's picture


Lonnie Harris owns the land next to Lumpy's family plot on Old Callahan Dr.

The clear-cut land on the ridge to the NE that dominates the entire valley (with its barrenness) is owned by James Harris. So, if you want to see what Lumpy's idea of ridge and hillside development looks like, head up Clinton Highway and take a good look. Bring a barf bag. I'm honestly surprised these guys are willing to show their faces in public.

source: KGIS
(Lumpy's land is still in Earl Lambert's name on KGIS.)

As a bonus, Here's Google's view of the raped hillside people up in Karns and Clinton have had to look at for the past decade.

Anyway, I'm pretty sure those are high voltage power lines that run through the Lambert's land, so I'm curious about what kind of fantasy apartments Lumpy thinks might be built there.

Rachel's picture

Ironically, Lumpy was

Ironically, Lumpy was complaining Monday night about the clear-cut "soil mining" on the ridge close to him. Apparently he wants his neighbors banned from doing things he doesn't like, but wants the freedom to do whatever HE likes.

I don't know about high-voltage, but my aerial photo savvy spouse says those are indeed power lines (although they're below the top of the ridge, so I guess the apt house can go right on top).

BTW, Lonnie thinks the clear cutting is just fine. According to him, in 25 years you won't be able to tell. And anybody with enviromental concerns he dismissed as "tree huggers."

jbr's picture

How did Jernigan get put on

How did Jernigan get put on the committee? Just curious.

Susie Q's picture

task force

Lots of folks are wondering that same thing.

Rachel's picture

I probably shouldn't stir

I probably shouldn't stir this pot again, but Lumpy apparently disrupted the meeting at Karns last night.

He is of course entitled to express his opinion, but he's not entitled to disrupt meetings to the point that other attendees can't ask questions and give input.

I was pleased to read the other people there told him to sit down and shut up, although I'm sure that made the meeting even more unproductive.

citizenX's picture

Out House Rat

It is well known that Lumpy can, at times does, act as crazy as an out-house rat. We have known for sometime that he is not always in complete control of his faculties and often "acts out" at public meetings. No one should be surprised at his behavior. Lumpy is just being Lumpy and therein lies the problem. He has been able to get away with his disruption of public meetings for a very long time without any action being taken against him.

I agree that the next meetings should be videotaped so that the citizens of Knoxville and Knox County who have not had the dubious pleasure of seeing Lumpy lose control will be better able to appreciate his lack of judgement and decorum. Perhaps then we will see less apathy when the next election rolls around and Lumpy's name appears on the ballot. If we the people put him in office why can't we the people take him out of office?

That does not mean he will curtail his childish outbursts nor limit his threats....but he will no longer have the cover of being a County Commissioner to hide behind. He can still show up at any public meeting he wishes to attend but he will have to attend as a fellow citizen rather than as an office holder. Perhaps then the police or sheriff's department will be willing to take action against him.

Lumpy enjoys politics and the public attention he gains from being a commissioner and I expect he will continue to run for office as long as the voters in his district are willing to vote for him. However, we do NOT HAVE to vote for him. That is the bottom line. Somehow this man has managed to be elected and re-elected and I can't figure out how. I find myself scratching my head and wondering who are Lumpy's supporters?

B Harmon's picture

First term for the Lump

Lumpy was elected to this FIRST TERM at the same time as Mark Harmon, Tony Norman, and R. Larry. It just feels like it has been longer because this current commission has been repopulated 5 times since the 2006 election.

Lumpy ran against Margaret Massey Cox,who would have been a great commissioner but that "D" after her name made that impossible in that district.

We can only hope that he will not run again much less get re-elected. It would be great to start a recall effort. That might just scare him enough to curb his behavior.

As for the next task force meeting and his threat to bring his crew... who would that be? Brian Hornback or Lee Trammel? Would they be there to help Lumpy make a fool of himself? Would he bring his grandfather and other family members? I read the comments on the KNS article and there is not one person supporting him.

We will not be at the meeting because I am still gun shy ever since last July, but I do hope someone will record it.

tennesseevaluesauthority's picture

What Can Be Done?

As I said in my blog entry:

"If it were in their power, I'd suggest the commission order a psychological examination for Lambert before he hurts himself or someone else."

Rachel's picture

Great job! I wish I'd

Great job! I wish I'd written it.

Rachel's picture

I will be surprised if Lumpy

I will be surprised if Lumpy can get re-elected if anybody credible runs against him. I've heard more than one person in his district say they didn't realize what they were getting when they voted for him - they thought he'd stick up for the little guy rather than act like a fool while sticking up for developers.

Nobody's picture

It is very weird the way

It is very weird the way lumpy gets up out of his seat, walks down and sits next to zoning attorney Aurthur Seymore. Whispering into his ear during the meetings. That has happened alot lately. I have never seen any other commissioner do that.

redmondkr's picture

I meant to shoot (video) the

I meant to shoot (video) the Karns meeting but had a conflict at the last minute. It appears that I can make it to the one at the Powell Library.

Of course by that time Lumpy will have cleaned up his act and You Tube viewers probably won't get to see him show his assets.

Visit us at:

The Home

Rachel's picture

Once again I ask you guys to

Once again I ask you guys to please not let Lumpy get the last word on this.

Take a look at the presentation on the MPC website ((link...)) and fill out the comment form.

amybroyles's picture

If Lumpy truly wanted to

If Lumpy truly wanted to give input and be part of the process, he could have attended any and all of the task force's meetings. They were publicly noticed, open meetings. Finbarr and I both frequently attended the meetings, and were made to feel very welcome. Instead, Lumpy has chosen to take this path, and I am disappointed.

I am disappointed for the task force, as I know how much time and energy they have put into this. They deserve our thanks for taking on such a complicated and difficult project. Instead, turnout at these meetings has been low and Lumpy has disrupted two of them to the point that he is the story, not the task force's work.

I am disappointed for Lumpy that he has chosen to take an adversarial and unproductive position on this process. It is not good for him, and does nothing to further what he says he believes in. I wish there were some way to help him realize this, and encourage him to find a better way.

I am also distressed by his comment about someone showing up at the City County Building with a gun and shooting us all because we deserve it. Next week is the one year anniversary of the shooting at our church; that statement was completely inappropriate, and created distress for me and my family, as well as others. As I said, I have attended several task force meetings. I had been looking forward to these public presentations, but like Becky, I have decided not to attend any of them now.

However, please do follow Rachel's lead and take a look at the presentation on the MPC website ((link...)). It is very well done and contains some very interesting and thought-provoking information. There is also a great deal of other information on the MPC site, in addition to the presentation. Providing feedback through the online survey is essential.

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