After two years of waiting, some local property owners might soon edge a step closer to being able to build their dream homes.
A new set of developers are involved with Lighthouse Pointe off Corporate Park Drive and have plans to complete the upscale Loudon development that went bust in 2009.
Developers LHP Acquisition LLC appeared Wednesday before Loudon Regional Planning Commission requesting site plan approval for a community clubhouse. LHP acquired the subdivision property after the original owner/developers, JCG & Associates, filed bankruptcy.
Russ Rackley, president of Rackley Engineering, said the clubhouse is an amenity property owners want to complete as soon as possible. The clubhouse is located at 203 Lighthouse Blvd., on a lot of about one acre.
Planning director Russ Newman said developers hope to begin construction on the clubhouse immediately, if weather allows.
"They want to move ahead with completing amenities, and this is on a one-acre lot previously used as a sales parking lot," Newman said. "The old building is gone, and the new owners want to complete the site plan using the existing parking lot with 18 spaces."
The clubhouse building will be a small structure - about 1,600 square feet with two bathrooms, kitchen and a small meeting room. The LHP site plan shows a parking area with 10-foot by 18-foot parking spaces.
"The only real issue is the depth of the parking spaces," Newman said. Although city ordinance does not have a specific requirement for parking spaces, the commission in the past has required spaces of 10 feet wide by 20 feet deep as part of the site plan approval, he said. Newman said parking is adequate to meet the needs for the facility.
Commissioner Carlie McEachern wondered why there was a need to appeal the parking situation.
"You're asking for a variance to something that doesn't matter to start with," McEachern said. "You're making it superfluous. You don't even need a variance. And the 20-foot depth is not even in front of us now."
The variance was placed on the agenda for the Board of Zoning Appeals, which meets after the planning commission and has the same members.
The clubhouse is needed for storage and for the pool, but it is less important than green space, Rackley said. "One of the biggest things homeowners want is a place to walk their dogs," Rackley said. "The parking lot will not be highly used."
JCG & Associates filed bankruptcy before completing installation of infrastructure. They owed the city of Loudon $87,000 for installation of underground electrical infrastructure. The city installed water and sewer lines, but a sewer pumping station had not been installed. The lots will not be able to be developed until the bill is paid.
The foreclosed property - some 70 lots - was purchased by a limited liability corporation, a subsidiary of BB&T Bank called Atlas Tri-State SPE LLC.
Newman recommended approval of the submitted site plan, subject to the Board of Zoning Appeal's approval of a variance for parking spaces. However, Commissioner Ken Brewster's motion omitted the variance requirement.
"I hate to go against (Newman)," Brewster said. "I make a motion that the site plan is approved as drawn." The motion passed unanimously.
Three other developments in Loudon - Hampton Place, Sweetwater Creek and Legacy Park - went bankrupt around the same time, Lynn Mills, city manager, said. Some of those subdivisions may be resumed next year, Mills said.