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Commission looks at special zoning for Timberline

Xavier Smith • May 16, 2018 at 1:43 PM

The Lebanon Planning Commission discussed a specific plan zoning for Timberline Campground on Tuesday, with the hopes of improving conditions at the site.

City planner Richard Donovan said site has attracted a potential buyer, L&M Properties, and said the city hopes specific plan for the site could help make the deal possible.

“There’s going to be some long-term living there that’s currently taking place. What we’re looking for is some of the things that the city can enforce and help improve the situation,” said Donovan, who said improvements to lighting, landscaping and cleanliness of the site could happen.

Byron Gill, of Rochelle McCulloch and Aulds, represents L&M Properties and spoke to the commission Tuesday.

“They have done this in other locations in other states. They have found this property and talked to current owners, who are kind of coasting, to be honest with you with the property. I think everybody acknowledges there are multiple violations and issues out there,” Gill said.

Lebanon Planning Director Paul Corder said a specific plan would allow the city to enforce certain code violations at the site, which developed over time, mainly due to complications with a lawsuit that went unsettled when the property annexed into the city.

City planners have met with representatives from other departments, as well as city councilors and law enforcement officials about the site and potential changes.

“There are several players involved with the city that have been involved on the front end of this one that typically we don’t have, simply because of the situation we have out there,” Donovan said.

“I think everybody really has a desire to improve that site,” Gill said.

“You get into a situation that would be a crisis for the city, I think, if you went in and forced the commercial general zoning, right now. You would expect an 180-day turnover and, ultimately, what we’re dealing with here is people on the ground,” Donovan said.

Corder highlighted a situation in Chattanooga where city officials shut down a homeless encampment in its downtown region, which displaced more than 100 people. Chattanooga officials allocated about $50,000 for temporary shelter for those people.

Lebanon officials said if the city heavily enforced its codes for the site, it would potentially displace about 200 families.

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