CLEVELAND, Tenn. (WRCB-TV) - Internet retailer Amazon.com cleared perhaps its final hurdle, Monday night, to go ahead with a second Tennessee Valley facility. But, the move was not without opposition. "Anytime there's a major change like this in your community," said Bradley County Mayor Gary Davis, "it raises questions and concerns."
Some people who live next to the property on which Amazon has proposed to build its one million square foot warehouse felt the Internet retailer was going up too close for comfort. They worried about what the fulfillment center would do to their property values and quality of life. Their concerns lead to significant changes in design. "They could have only had a 35 foot setback from their property boundary. They have chosen to have approximately 200 to 250 feet setback," explained Douglas Berry, Vice President of Economic Development, Cleveland-Bradley County Chamber of Commerce. "They've also agreed to create a berm, an earthen berm and then to do tree plantings along the top of that along the fencing."
Another concern, at their facilities in Kentucky and Kansas, Amazon has reportedly set up RV campgrounds and bussed in workers while ramping up staff for the Christmas shopping rush. Mayor Davis tells us he feels there are more than enough local people looking for work to fill the part time spots. "I've heard the comments and talk; I don't know anything about it," said Davis. "When we were meeting with them, as well as Hamilton County, we were talking about the full time jobs. The tax abatement that Bradley County approved tonight to offer them is based on the 226 jobs, permanent jobs that will be coming to our community as well as the investment."
Not all residents were satisfied with the concessions, but the Bradley County Commission unanimously passed measures to rezone the property as industrial and permit a 50% tax abatement for ten years.
Thanks to the state, a new stop light will soon go in at the intersection and a deceleration lane will go in at the Charleston exit off Interstate 75.
Amazon dot com hopes to be up and running at both the Hamilton and Bradley County facilities by next Christmas.