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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