The Maryville Planning Commission on Monday approved the rededication of two companies looking to expand within the city limits and open a store, as well as the site plans for a new restaurant on West Lamar Alexander Parkway.

The commissioners unanimously approved a motion from Blossman Gas and Appliance, which already has a location on US Highway 411, to convert the property at 938 Celtic Road from commercial to industrial.

The company plans to set up several storage tanks in the region and required both a change in the future land use map and a district switch from high-intensity retail to industrial.

Commissioners unanimously voted to grant the company both reallocations, although Commissioner Fred Metz noted that this would make the property different from anything else: most of the land in this area is currently divided into commercial zones.

The city’s land development manager Michael Brusseau noted that city planners may later reassess the zoning of the area as an Atmos Energy natural gas pipeline runs through the area and may not be suitable for commercial projects.

A representative from Blossman told commissioners that there were no plans to construct a storage-only structure on the site – which is in a cul-de-sac and not near other buildings.

The Commission’s notes stated that another company was storing gas tanks in the countryside about 20 years ago. There are currently other natural gas plants in the region.

The commissioners also unanimously agreed to the abandonment of an alley between Ellis Avenue and High Street and the repurposing of packages for a project involving the building on Ellis Ave. 496 could be demolished.

Developer James Ryan made the request, and Lawler Wood’s Barry Brooke responded to commissioners’ questions about why the destruction was necessary. The old building is a 17,850 square foot warehouse that was built in 1940.

The property was renamed from the office transition district to the business corridor district on Washington Street on Monday, in part to regulate the appearance of Maryville buildings that tourists can see in the mountains, according to commission notes.

Developers say they plan to build a similar structure on the property because the current building is not safe enough for remodeling. “We are currently planning to rebuild the existing character of the building,” Ryan told the commissioners.

Brooke added it was a place for entertainment, including dining, bowling, simulated golf, and other activities. There will be two levels for indoor and outdoor dining, he said.

“It’s sad to see these old buildings being demolished,” said Keri Prigmore, Chair of the Planning Commission, adding a laugh. “But when you say ‘entertainment venue’ it means I don’t have to go to Knoxville.”

Commissioners also approved a site map for the Lim Dynasty Asian Cafe Express behind the Dollar General on 2025 Bridgeway Drive.

Commissioner Danmonth – also owner of LeConte Realty – abstained and Brusseau stated that it was because he was involved in the project.

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