Resident sues Johnson City for review of zoning approval

Resident sues Johnson City for review of zoning approval

The future of the General Mills property in Johnson City is stirring up controversy.

A luxury apartment development is not what some Johnson City residents feel is best for the land.

Tree Streets resident and attorney Amber Lee didn't think the ruling by Johnson City Commissioners  was done properly, so she sued.

We couldn't reach Lee for comment, but Jodi Jones, the president of the Southside Neighborhood Organization, agrees.

"BZA did not follow proper procedure, and the courts need to reopen the issue and see what happened in those proceedings," Jones says.

On Thursday night, Johnson City Commissioners passed a second reading vote to re-zone the General Mills property, making it one step closer for Evolve Development to build a $20 million apartment complex on Walnut Street.

Jones believes the building should be preserved, but her opinion at the public hearing didn't make a difference.

"I felt like we made a really good case last night, and so it was hard to hear them all vote the same way," she says.

Tom McKee, attorney for Evolve, says the city made minor errors, all of which can be fixed. "All we have to do to correct is to have a different sign put up and have another meeting before the board."

McKee also says the lawsuit filed by Lee is just an attempt to delay the project. "It's not going to delay our project."

McKee believes the development will revitalize the downtown area. "The downtown needs more people to spend money downtown, and this will provide them residence."

Jones doesn't think that's the best use for the land. "A little commercial, maybe have the Chamber located there, maybe have some form for art or a children's museum has been proposed."

For now, Lee and other residents are waiting on a ruling by the Chancery Court Judge.

Other than that., McKee says, "It's not going to slow us down any."

No date has been set for the judge to issue a ruling, and there is still one city commission hearing ahead.

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