Mon
Dec 3 2007
07:04 pm

The Metropolitan Planning Commissions motion to dismiss the 8th District Preservation Association's MPC lawsuit was denied. Here's the press release from the 8th District Preservation Association:

Contact:
Bob Wolfenbarger, Donna Bohon

Today Chancellor Daryl R. Fansler heard a Motion to Dismiss the Metropolitan Planning Commission from the lawsuit filed by the 8th District Preservation Association plaintiffs on the proposed Midway Road Industrial Park. That motion was denied.

The lawsuit brought by the 8th District plaintiffs is in two parts. The first is a certiorari action alleging that the MPC arbitrarily amended its East Sector Plan in order to facilitate the re-zoning of the Midway Road Property. The second part is a declaratory judgment action against the Knox County Commission asking the Court to declare the re-zoning null and void.

The MPC filed a Motion to Dismiss the Certiorari Action, asserting that MPC's amendment of its sector plan was not an appealable action. The 8th District Plaintiffs responded that the amendment of the sector plan was indeed a final appealable action by MPC, and that the Motion should be denied and the appeal should be allowed to go forward.

Chancellor Fansler, after careful consideration of the state statute, the Knox County Zoning Ordinance and the opinion of the Court of Appeals, agreed with the argument of the 8th District plaintiffs. A copy of the 8th District argument is attached for your information.

Their brief on the motion to dismiss is attached.

AttachmentSize
Brief on Motion on Cert.pdf87.71 KB
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Lisa Starbuck's picture

A Big Deal

This is actually a pretty big ruling by Chancellor Fansler. There are three defendants in the suit - Knox County Commission, MPC and The Development Corp.

MPC argued that they should not have been sued because it was an action by KCC to approve the rezoning - that they were just an advisory body. Further, they said that they had the right to arbitrarily change their sector plan to accommodate the rezoning. So, they were asking to be let out of the suit as a defendant.

Fansler denied the motion, so the MPC, KCC and TDC are all in for the long haul. It was an important ruling and a big win for the plaintiffs.

jbr's picture

That is good news. Hopefully

That is good news. Hopefully this will pull the covers off these three entities that seem to frequently make baffling moves that differ from the desires of the communities they were supposedly created to serve. I wonder how many citizens over the years have left these entities after passionate, well researched pleas, with fact based justifications, that were seemingly completely ignored. In addition the numerous citizens that did not even try because they felt there was no point. This potentially can give the citizens of Knox County a sense of empowerment and motivate future community involvement at many levels.

Lisa Starbuck's picture

Accountability

I agree that this suit should empower its citizens and encourage more citizen involvement. Right now, many citizens and neighborhood groups feel that it is useless to even try to be involved in zoning decisions because of the pro-development slant of MPC and County Commission. And don't even get me started on the BZA.

This lawsuit is going to be historic - it will show the MPC that they too have to be accountable for their actions, and that they can't just make arbitrary decisions. With Chancellor Fansler's ruling today, it has shown the MPC that they can't hide behind the government's cloak. Daylight the whole process and let's see what comes out - I think citizens will be both surprised and not surprised to see how their government really works.

jbr's picture

I find it odd the

I find it odd the News-Sentinel is not acknowledging the significance of this lawsuit. Plus displaying a sense of pride that the their lawsuit has enabled citizens with a new mechanism to defend their rights. This is where the real value of 'Sunshine' is implemented. Someone mentioned it earlier, but this should have nationwide interest.

sugarfatpie's picture

Could this end Knox Co's .5 billion$/yr developer subsidy?

So happy to hear that MPC is getting sued over Midway!
There are some good people on the staff at MPC who want to control urban growth, and taxpayer subsidies of it. But the commission is dominated by developers and insiders who are complicit in the lining of developers pockets with our tax dollars! If the lawsuit goes through and wins, it could transform the way MPC does business. Midway is a perfect example of MPC greenlighting a stupid un-needed project that saddles taxpayers with huge debts.

Every year MPC collaborates with developers, handing them what amounts to a .5 billion$ subsidy because they turn a blind eye to costly taxpayer subsidized extensions of sewer and road upgrades. This is relevant to Midway because the whole business "park" is really about getting sewer out there and creating a development boom on what is now relatively cheep land.

There is so much land that could be developed closer into town that already has adequate services ( roads, sewer, schools, fire, police, etc). But because this land is more expensive than undeveloped land further out, developers would rather we give them our tax dollars to make this cheeper land "developable" with sewer and wider roads.

The best thing that could come out of this lawsuit is that MPC closes the door on backroom deals by calculating the “cost of community services” for new development. MPC currently makes NO EFFORT to figure it this out for ANY development.

A report put out by Rutgers estimated that Nashville would save almost a billion dollars a year by managing all its growth so as to minimize the "cost of community services". At roughly half of Nashville’s size, Knoxville could probably realize half as much by doing the same.

Currently we are giving all of this money to real estate developers, who get to buy cheep land in far flung parts of the county, and then have services extended regardless of the costs to taxpayers.

But lets not loose our focus on the real criminals in all of this, the Development Corporation of Knox County. They are the ones spearheading Midway and they are the ones who should receive the lions share of punishment. They should be re-organized into a body that reflects the interests of all stakeholders in Knox County, not just the fat cats.

Hopefully this lawsuit will help expose TDC's plan to put a new sewage treatment plant on the French Broad as an extreme case of taxpayer funded welfare for developers. The Development Corporation of Knox County, which is run by real estate developers and other members of Knox County's business elite, is trying to leverage the 4 million $ that they have budgeted for wastewater treatment for the Midway Business Park towards a 13 million $ sewage plant/handout for residential real estate developers. The result will be intensive real estate development at the very edge of Knox county, costing taxpayers millions in road upgrades and expansion of police and fire services.

If this development were shifted towards the many vacant tracts of land in the parts of Knox county that already have sufficient services to accommodate new growth, 500 million tax dollars could be saved!!!

Can you imagine what Knox County could do with half a billion dollars more each year?
Here is a press release for the report on the cost of community services:

(link...)

Thanks
Sugarfatpie

"X-Rays are a hoax."-Lord Kelvin

jbr's picture

The Midway Road folks have

The Midway Road folks have done their homework...

(link...)

jbr's picture

In case you may wan to

In case you may wan to support the Midway Road folks they have this page of suggestions....

(link...)

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