A local activist group has filed a lawsuit to stop the proposed Midway Business Park, saying it will endanger the water underneath the proposed East Knox County site.
The move comes two months after county leaders officially paved the way to get the project up and running.
complaint, filed in Knox County Chancery Court, says the more than 300
acres just off I-40 near Strawberry Plains sits directly above an
aquifer that the nearby residents use and any intense development will
“We all drink out of that aquifer and they don’t
care,” said Bob Wolfenbarger, president of the 8th District Preservation
Association. “It will destroy the aquifer no matter what they do
The non-profit group filed the lawsuit Friday against the
Development Corporation of Knox County, the county, the Knoxville-Knox
County Metropolitan Planning Commission and the Knox County Commission.
lawsuit notes that the area is composed of “high undulating terrain
containing numerous sinkholes” and is “unsuitable for large-scale
development, as reflected in the East Knox County Sector Plan of 1995.”
On Tuesday, Wolfenbarger told WBIR 10News that “nothing in the area has changed.”
“This just happens to be a bad site and they don’t want to believe it,” he said.
MORE: Copy of the complaint
County Law Director Richard “Bud” Armstrong declined to comment, saying
his office received a copy of the lawsuit late Monday and he hasn’t had
time to review it.
Todd Napier, president of the Development
Corporation, said: “We’re very disappointed. We continue to have some
individuals who are working to delay or stop a project that will
ultimately be to the benefit to Knox County. We will vigorously defend
the actions that have been taken and move on.”
The Knox County
Commission in December voted to change the sector plan that governs the
zoning for the property to allow for an industrial park.
with the Development Corporation, which bought the land in 2006, say
the project could attract a large-scale manufacturer or distributor, and
bring in $200 million in wages.
Business leaders stress that the
property is among the last large tracts available that can be used to
promote business park developments.