Story by Gordon BoydEyewitness News Reporter
HARRISON, HAMILTON COUNTY, TN. (WRCB)-- There's a lot of un-developed farmland in Harrison.
You could say it was only a matter of time until developers caught wind of it.
Some major changes could be in store for that portion of Hamilton County.
A lot of people choose to live out there because it's quiet and close to the water.
We're talking about Highway-58 at Mahan Gap Road.
The key is what people aren't saying, publicly.
The register of deeds reports no property has changed hands recently in the area in question.
Several commercial real estate brokers say they've heard nothing.
But neighbors, and one county commissioner, are hearing rumblings.
"When I first moved out here, there's not a home in sight," says resident Jack Hughes.
Thirty-two autumns later, Jack Hughes' home hardly stands alone on Mahan Gap Road.
But those neighbors give him his space.
"Most people move out here like this, move out here to be to themselves," says Hughes.
That already is tougher, thanks to the traffic on Highway 58.
And if there's truth to the talk about what could go in across from fat mike's barbeque:
"There's been Wal-mart mentioned, there's been Publix mentioned, Bi-lo's, little bit of everything," says County Commissioner Chester Bankston.
Several property owners confirm a real estate agent has approached them about selling their land provided it clear zoning and environmental hurdles, and provided they keep everything confidential.
Wal-mart corporate hasn't returned our phone calls.
County Commissioner Chester Bankston can't get anyone on the record either.
"I can't see that it would be anything but good. It brings jobs to our county, that's what we're trying to do," says Bankston.
But Jack Hughes is hedging a bit.
"It will make it a very dangerous intersection, it's dangerous as it is," says Hughes.
Commissioner Bankston predicts any major development would prompt widening of Mahan Gap Road.
And besides, it's not as if it'd be happening tomorrow.
"I'd say at least three or four years, maybe longer," says Bankston.
Jack Hughes figures it's all about when, not whether growth, he says, is as inevitable as the season's change.
"That's a part of people having children," says Hughes.
Or from southeast Tennessee landing a Volkswagen plant?
Again, major players aren't talking, but Commissioner Bankston relays that at least a dozen property owners have been contacted.
Their holdings, if rezoned from farming to M-1, could give a developer more than 200 acres.
Four people were killed and four others injured in a mass shooting at a Waffle House in Antioch early Sunday. The suspect is still on the run.
900 Whitehall Road
Chattanooga, TN 37405
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