Proposed Resolution Aimed At Overturning Approval Of Controversial Grocery Store Complex Tops Agenda For Tuesday Night Walden Council Meeting

Monday, January 11, 2021 - by Judy Frank

Two months after Walden voters ousted Mayor Bill Trohanis and replaced him with then-Vice Mayor Lee Davis, the new mayor is making good on his campaign promises.

 

Tuesday evening, during their regular January monthly meeting, Mayor Davis and other Walden council members will reconsider the town’s controversial 2019 approval of a plan to convert the old Lines Orchids greenhouse site into a so-called “village center.”

 

Highlighting the agenda for Tuesday’s meeting is a resolution which contends that Walden officials violated both state law and the town’s zoning ordinances when they went along with attorney/developer John Anderson’s plans to build a large supermarket/gas station/retail complex/parking lot on the site.

 

Consequently, the proposed resolution says, “Mayor Lee Davis is hereby authorized and directed to take all appropriate actions to invalidate the 2019 (Ordinance 331) approving the rezoning .

. . and to carry out the intent and purpose of this resolution, which is to comply with state law and the zoning ordinance – and to correct the erroneous passage of Ordinance 331.”

 

If approved, the resolution will also end the town’s opposition to a lawsuit opposing the grocery store complex filed last year in Hamilton County Circuit Court by Linda Collins, Gary D. Smith and Anthony J. Wheeler.

 

From now on, it says, Walden officials and attorneys will “cooperate with the petitioners in the lawsuit.”

Mayor Davis, a longtime attorney, has been a staunch opponent of developer Anderson’s plan to clear the way for the supermarket complex by rezoning the Lines Orchids property as a village center. The project – which is currently stalled in Bradley County Court now that all Hamilton County judges have recused themselves from hearing it – has languished for over a year.

The issue was a major bone of contention between former Mayor Trohanis, who supports the proposed 44,000-square-foot grocery and retail complex, and Mayor Davis during their sometimes-heated campaign this past fall.

 “Anybody who’s ever seen a village center can look at this and see that it’s not a village center,” Attorney Davis told voters during his mayoral campaign. “It’s a strip mall.”

 


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