3 ON YOUR SIDE: Businesses say overgrowth on Hwy 153 impacting business visibility
Some local businesses are calling on the Tennessee Department of Transportation to meet them in the middle when it comes to the visibility of their buildings.
They reached out to 3 On Your Side after their complaints fell on deaf ears.
Driving north on Highway 153 near the Bonny Oaks exit, you see trees and brush.
On the other side of the vegetation line are about a dozen businesses.
A handful of them have storefronts that face the highway but you'd never know it driving by.
"We kind of depend on the sight from 153 to see our building because we're not on a main road on the back of us," Lee Johnson with Choo Choo Aquatic Center said.
DivCo Data and Choo Choo Aquatic Center are a couple of those businesses.
They said the overgrowth makes it nearly impossible for customers to find them.
"Take our business, for instance, it's a niche market. It's not well known by a lot of people, so to have that exposure from the highway.. We have government officials traveling the highway who would be interested in our business as well as the commercial industry," Danny Hair, Manager at DivCo Data said.
Both businesses paid someone to clear brush and overgrowth on one side of the fence on their property. The problem is the brush on the other side of the fence.
"But we don't have the right of way to go onto the other side of the fence and clear. So even if we wanted to do it, and take it on ourselves to do it, legally we're not allowed to clear that property. It belongs to the highway department," Hair added.
Those with Choo Choo Aquatic said they've contacted TDOT several times, providing complaints and e-mails of correspondence with three TDOT employees, but no action.
Johnson said he's also made phone calls himself.
"Called TDOT, got in contact with them. They said they would have somebody out here, and I haven't heard from them and tried to contact them and can't," he said.
We reached out to TDOT with the concerns, they tell us they received one complaint and they are looking into the matter.
The businesses hope officials will consider their years of investments into the community and meet them in the middle.
"They, in turn, want us to keep our stuff nice and neat. We, in turn, would like for them to do the same," Johnson said.
TDOT tells Channel 3, they do not perform this kind of work but the property owner can apply for a permit to clear brush on TDOT right-of-way adjacent to their property.
There are some restrictions, according to TDOT, on what size of trees can be cleared.
TDOT said they will work with the property owners to obtain those permits if they want them.