City Manager Pete Peterson told commissioners Monday that Ballad Health has requested the zoning change.
“They have a planned use for that that they’re not willing to disclose right now,” Peterson said.
Peterson said he knows the planned use for the property, but has been asked not to repeat it until the health system has contracts signed.
“It will be a use that will not be offensive to anybody,” Peterson said. “It’s going to be primarily an office-type use.”
Johnson City commissioners discussed the item during their agenda review meeting on Monday, which acts as an opportunity for officials to ask questions about issues that could appear on the agenda for their regular, twice-monthly meetings. The final agenda will be released later this week.
The rezoning, as scheduled, would be considered on first reading on Thursday and would involve rezoning the property from RTP (Research/Technology Park District) to B-4 (Planned Arterial Business District).
In a summary of the item that appears in commissioners’ draft agenda packet, city staff said the rezoning would assist with the possible development of the land, which would be in line with nearby land uses that are also zoned B-4.
Staff said the rezoning has the potential to “accelerate commercial development seeking to take advantage of the state economic incentive zone.”
Earlier this year, commissioners approved the boundaries of a roughly 950-acre district that’s intended to spur growth in the Boones Creek area around Interstate-26’s Exit 17. The boundaries have now been sent to the state for final approval.
Staff said rezoning could also provide good conditions for site development in a way that takes into account the new traffic circulation patterns in that area.
Funding for mass transit
City commissioners will also decide whether to give staff permission to apply for a $2.67 million grant from the federal government, which would be used strictly for mass transit.
Peterson said staff expects that funding would become available in two to three months and that it would be spent primarily on bus replacements.
Asked whether this grant could free up money for other purposes, Peterson said it likely wouldn’t free up much, noting that most bus replacements are predominantly funded through federal money anyway.
According to the Tennessee Department of Transportation, the $2.67 million in funding was made possible through the $2.2 trillion stimulus package that the federal government approved in late March.
The package included $25 billion in relief for transit agencies in the U.S, including almost $30 million for Tennessee.
The Kingsport Area Transit Service’s apportionment of that funding would $1.2 million. The distribution of this funding is based on the operating expenses reported by each agency.