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Nathan Baker

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County planners to consider rezoning Telford industrial park

March 1st, 2014 8:34 pm by Nathan Baker

County planners to consider rezoning Telford industrial park

The Washington County Regional Planning Commission will consider a request Tuesday to rezone 67 acres of vacant land in the Telford industrial park, a housekeeping measure as a new economic development organization officially takes the wheel.

The tract of farmland was purchased by the county’s Economic Development Board back in 2011 to be joined with the 29 acres already owned by the county, but was never rezoned from its previous agricultural uses to fit the intended industrial purposes.

Now that the Washington County Economic Development Council has been designated the official development organization under Public Charter 1101, and is in the process of absorbing the now defunct EDB’s assets and funds, CEO Mitch Miller said it’s time to update the holdings.

“There’s no project tied to it,” Miller said Thursday. “We’re just saving ourselves a month’s worth of meetings in case somebody does show up with interest.”

The land lies to the west of the existing developed portion of the park, where bearing component manufacturers Koyo and Nakatetsu Machining Technologies and Alo Tennessee Inc., a front-end loader maker, currently operate.

The county EDB purchased the land three years ago with backing from the Johnson City Power Board after noticing a dearth of suitable sites available for business expansion and job growth within its boundaries.

Late last year, the governing bodies of Washington County and Johnson City approved Miller’s Economic Development Council as the sole entity in the county able to facilitate state grants, followed by Jonesborough’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen in January.

With the new authority on board, the previous 1101 designee, the county’s EDB, was no longer needed and dissolved, transferring its $363,000 of assets to the Economic Development Council.

The council’s members officially accepted the former board’s assets at its Feb. 20 meeting.

In a highly competitive market, Miller said the ability to act quickly with a property already properly zoned for industrial use could be the deciding factor when a business is considering sites for new facilities.

“Time is money,” he said. “These guys want to be able to come in as quick as possible and start building. They don’t want to have to wait for meetings to take their course.”

If the county planners approve the request, the proposal will next go to the full commission for a first reading.

The Planning Commission will meet at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the Zoning Office Conference Room, 100 E. Main St., Jonesborough Courthouse.

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