Controversy over new condo development in East Knoxville

By: Mike McCarthy
By: Mike McCarthy

Knoxville (WVLT) - Neighbors fought it for months, but the Knoxville City Council paved the road for a new multi-million dollar condo development near their homes.

Volunteer TV's Mike McCarthy was there when the vote came in.

About a dozen Chilhowee Hill homeowners came to Tuesday night's meeting. Two hundred Chilhowee Hills Baptist Church members came. The church is the main player in the East Knoxville development.

When the unanimous 9 to 0 vote came in, church members gave a standing ovation, and thunderous applause, but homeowners say the rug was pulled out from under them.
One of the most vocal opponents to the project was Karen Odell. She appealed the Metropolitan Planning Commission's approval of the project. She says the church blindsided her with amended conditions to the deal at the meeting. She says that have neighbors no time to discuss the changes.

Council gave them about 20 minutes to talk among themselves. The neighbors asked for another postponement. Council already delayed the vote from earlier this month.
The council said this was fair to both sides.

Chilhowee Hills Baptist Church wants to build a 194 condos on its property just off Asheville Highway. Neighbors expressed concerns about increased traffic and destroyed forestry.

Tuesday's amended conditions add speed bumps, gate entrances, and other traffic requirements. Odell says she just wanted a fair deal. She says this was just too much to fast.

"Please don't come to us on Tuesday afternoon before the council meeting because we don't have time to talk to all the people involved," Odell said.

"It's bringing development into the inner city, inner ring of Knoxville. While people are moving out into the suburbs, we're thrilled we have a first rate development," Chilhowee Hills Baptist Church Pastor Tony Crisp said.

Odell says the church and city council hasn't heard the last from neighbors. Crisp says construction could in early summer.


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