Alternative lifestyle resort could be headed to rural Roane Co.

ROANE COUNTY, Tenn. (WVLT) -- A huge crowd is expected to pack Roane County's planning hearing May 21. It'll likely be a meeting filled with neighbors trying to stop what they see as a nudist retreat for homosexuals.

The land owner says the proposed Rosebud Lodge has caught even him by surprise.

Once, it was a live-in camp for sub-contractors at Y-12.

The owner says the proposed buyer has pitched it as primitive camping for adults only.

The proposed buyer says it's a mis-understanding, but his neighbors call it an outrage.

Herman Clegg lives next door to the proposed resort and says, "It's been my dream my whole life to have a farm on the water. We just like to live life that way."

Herman Clegg bought into his breathtaking view, when
Clinch River frontage was cheap and the living quiet.

"And we give God the credit. He carried us along."

But when he first heard the rumored and reported plans for the former worker camp next door, Clegg says, "My first objections were moral. We don't live that way, we don't understand people that do."

"They've got a right to live just like we have, but this is a Bible Belt area," Roane County Commissioner Fred Tedder says. "People are gonna be upset about same sex marriages of men and women."

Clegg says, " I'm a Christian, and I was raised to believe that God wanted us to wear clothes when we're out together."

Rosebud Lodge's prime mover won't go on camera, but he says by phone that it was a mistake posting pictures of same-sex couples on his Web site.

He says he means merely to tell gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgenders that they'd be welcome, but it's not gay-only.

Whatever plans would require a zoning change from agricultural to commercial industrial.

Some neighbor say that's the biggest fear, but the best chance to stop it.

Clegg says, "The road really isn't wide enough for commercial traffic.
There's no parking there....We'd heard they'd have to have better sewage, and this is a septic tank area,"

Commissioner Tedder says. "I don't know what leg we'd have to stand on, but we hope our attorney comes up with something."

The land's owner says an equal, or better counter offer would force Rosebud to have to match, and line up payment in full within 24 hours.

But Herman Clegg says it's a threat to his 27 year slice of God's country.

"Once you've got the commercial C-1 established, you couldn't keep anybody out...We don't know what we'd do."

Rosebud Lodge's developer has been looking for investors, and several on-line classifieds do pitch it as a resort mostly for gays and lesbians.

He says he considers himself religious, even singing in a gospel quartet.

If zoning goes through, he says he could be open by August.

The buildings on-site wouldn't need that much re-modeling.

The land's owner-- the former Y-12 sub-contractor based in Texas -- says he has a signed contract, but wants a better offer.

He even asked VolunteerTV to give out his realtor's phone number to try to get out of this deal.


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  • by Bob Location: Kingston on Dec 11, 2008 at 05:38 PM
    Man, most of the commenters on this are ignorant and bigoted. Being gay is not wrong, even if you might believe it. God made gay people who are attracted to people of the same sex, just like he made ignorant hillbillies. Your children would not be exposed unless you let them enter this compound, then social services might need to see if you are fit to be a parent.
  • by chris on May 9, 2008 at 06:39 AM
    Recent news about a bible themed park for families was questioned and now this comes along. Hard to figure some people out..
  • by Paul Location: Kingston on May 8, 2008 at 08:53 PM
    I understand that there are gays everywhere, but plain and simple we do not want a place like this around us. Being gay is wrong no matter how you look at it as a christian or as a non christian people were made to be with the other sex period. It's more of a moral issue than anything else. I urge everyone in Roane County to contact your county official and express your concern.
  • by Wendy Location: Clinton on May 8, 2008 at 03:26 PM
    I have family that lives in the area. I do not want my children to be exposed to this kind of behavior. Keep your alternative lifestyles in your own homes don't expose them to my kids. Don't try to bring them in on my family. Not only is this lifestyle morally and Bibically wrong it is just gross. If you feel the need to take off your clothes and get nude, then that is what the bathroom is for. You have the privacy of your own home.
  • by Michael Location: Knoxville on May 8, 2008 at 02:20 PM
    I'm so exhausted by ignorant people every where who are still not educated about gay people. We are every where including Roane County. When are people going to realise that we are human beings too and we deserve rights just like African Americans?
  • by Nancy Location: Harriman on May 8, 2008 at 09:30 AM
    I agree with you, Patti. Harriman does not need this.
  • by openminded Location: knoxville on May 8, 2008 at 09:05 AM
    I feel sure that unless you are up in the middle of what is going on, you are not going to be able to see anything that goes on. Most nudist resorts resepect the privacy of their patrons and do not want to give the general public any more reasons to be upset.
  • by patti Location: skyline drive harriman tn on May 7, 2008 at 08:03 PM
    i live directly behind this resort area, I am used to seeing cows behind me, I dont think I would like waking up in the morning to naked gays in my yard. I have grandchildren and this community is just not ready for a place such as this, I would move for sure.

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