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Putnam County Zoning Under Consideration

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader

Talks have begun between the Putnam County Commissioners and the Planning Department to consider implementing zoning codes across the county.

The county currently does not have any zoning regulations. Planning Director Kevin Rush said zoning is based on topographical factors, population size, and community needs.

“Typically there’s a lot of mixed emotions when it comes to zoning,” Rush said. “Some people do not want to be told what their property is limited to. Others want the protection that zoning offers.”

Rush said the planning department will send letters to each county commissioner for guidance to determine if Putnam County is ready for zoning codes.

Zoning restrictions address a specific community issue. Rush said in 2004 Smith County adopted zoning restrictions for the Uranium Enrichment Facility. It was originally supposed to be developed in the Hartsville Nuclear Site.

“Without countywide zoning, the county has no control over development,” Rush said. “The purpose of zoning is to separate incompatible uses of land, and without that the Uranium Enrichment Facility could have located basically anywhere in the county. The county would not have been able to have prevented that development.”

Since the city and county differ from one another, Rush said a standard zoning guideline would not work.

“You know you can’t take what’s in the Cookeville zoning and say ‘this is what would apply in the county,’” Rush said. “They are two different governmental entities, two different sets of government regulations of what a municipality can do versus what a county can do.”


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