This may be an old story already posted but here is an update.
Bible Park at Blackman – Few, if any issues, have created more community debate and controversy than a Bible-based theme park proposed in the Blackman community.
More than a year after Armon BarTar presented a plan to build a $175 million-200 million, 282-acre biblically themed park in the Blackman community and create potentially hundreds of jobs, the County Commission voted May 16 to reject a zoning change to allow the project to go forward.
“We’ve told the developer since the beginning that we had concerns it didn’t fit with the Blackman Land Use Plan,” Planning Commissioner Doug Demosi told the commission. However, Demosi also said the developer had done everything possible to mitigate public concern with the park and its impact on the largely residential Blackman Community.
The proposal produced a huge grassroots effort in the Blackman community to thwart the park with opponents outmaneuvering park proponents by utilizing a seldom used zoning rule requiring two-thirds commissioner approval if 20 percent of adjoining landowners objected and filed petitions.
Even though the rezoning request drew a majority 12-9 vote, it failed to meet the two-thirds requirement.
The vote came after a contentious, at times uncivil, six-hour debate with dozens of private, business and religious leaders speaking.
The Shelton family, which owns the 240 acres optioned by SafeHarbor, LLC for the development of Bible Park USA, filed suit against Rutherford County in June challenging the county’s denial of the park’s rezoning request.
In the lawsuit, the Sheltons claimed petitions filed in opposition to the park by surrounding landowners were invalid and that County Attorney Jim Cope overstepped the bounds of his job by ruling the petitions valid.
Chancellor Robert Corlew agreed and sent the decision back to the Rutherford County commission to decide whether a supermajority vote was required.
The county is appealing the ruling.
The Bible Park developers secured a tentative agreement for a site in Wilson County near state Route 840, but officials there failed to approve a funding plan, leaving the park in limbo at year’s end.