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Mayor's Business Raising a Stink in Townsend

By: Stephen McLamb, Bureau Chief
By: Stephen McLamb, Bureau Chief

Townsend, Blount County (WVLT) - It's not what the folks in Townsend want you to see when you come into town, and it's raising quite a stink.

We're talking about a portable toilet business, right along the road.

A group of Laurel Valley residents are upset the entrance to the town is lined with portable toilets, but they say complaining to the mayor won't help, because it's the mayor's portable toilet business.

Known as the Peaceful Side of the Smokies, some Laurel Valley residents say the view of the mountains is distracted with a view of portable toilets.
(Pepper)
"I was very upset and disappointed that the beautiful view that our town and surrounding areas has been such a distraction with this view of the porta-potties," says Sara Pepper.

Tri-County Portables is owned by Townsend Mayor Shannon Skidmore. Sara Pepper says they hoped to get some relief, taking the issue to the Townsend City Council last week. "We brought this up as a point of concern of the people of Townsend and the surrounding areas and we did not make much progress."

Roger Stone is from Florida and says he's looking in the area to buy property. "We saw five acres in there that was really nice with some views and you know this just kind of popped up."

But now he says he has to weigh his options about where to buy now. "It kinda puts a gloomy look on for us buying something in there. I just don't want to see the portalets either."

For people like Sara Pepper, she's concerned the image it may have on visitors who come to enjoy the Peaceful Side of the Smokies. "This is a beautiful place and it's a quiet peaceful place and when you bike or walk or ride by it's just such a distraction."

Pepper says they plan to continue their fight to get the portables removed and hopes to take the issue to the City Planning Commission in early May.

Repeated attempts to contact Mayor Shannon Skidmore were unsuccessful.


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