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Lowe's reverses course on McCoy property

Robert Houk • Dec 22, 2018 at 1:19 AM

Officials with Lowe’s Home Improvement reversed an earlier decision and have agreed to remove restrictions from the sale of property next to Jonesborough Elementary School.

The Washington County Board of Education has said the 15-acre tract is key to its Scheme 6 plan for a new K-8 school.

“We haven’t seen anything officially in writing yet, but the company has indicated it will remove the restrictions,” Washington County Mayor Joe Grandy said Friday. “We are waiting for something more solid from Lowe’s, but things look better than they did a week ago.”

Earlier this month, Grandy said representatives for Joe McCoy, who has agreed to sell the property to the county for $777,900, were told by the Charlotte, N.C. -based company it did not want to remove restrictions from the sale of the property. Instead, Lowe’s officials indicated the company preferred to see the tract sold for a commercial development, such as a shopping center.

The nearby Lowe’s Home Improvement store asked that restrictions be attached to the sale of the remaining tract when it bought its land from McCoy more than a decade ago. Under those restrictions, Lowe’s has the right to pre-approve any construction — be it for a building or a road — on the tract.

No such plan could be reviewed by Lowe’s until the Board of Education finally voted in early October to approve Scheme 6, which calls for renovating the current Jonesborough Middle School and adding about 64,000 square feet to the building. School officials said the McCoy property is important to Scheme 6 because it will be used to create a new road for a bus loading and unloading zone with access to Main Street in Jonesborough.

County commissioners voted Monday night to once again extend an option to buy the McCoy property that was set to expire Dec. 31 by another 90 days while officials worked to have the restrictions removed.

At the urging of Commissioner Jim Wheeler, commissioners asked Grandy and Jonesborough Mayor Chuck Vest to send letters to corporate officials with Lowe’s asking the company to lift its property restrictions as a “public service” to the community.

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