Proposed doctors office criticized

Proponents say a proposed facility in West Knox County will be a neighborhood family clinic while opponents, who do not want any nonresidential development, say it will set a bad precedent for other residential areas.

The proposed new clinic would be at 1615 Choto Road, a vacant lot adjacent to the roundabout where Choto Road crosses Northshore. Presently the lot is zoned Agricultural and Low Residential Development. How-ever, the developers, Dr. Keri McFarlane Bentley and Daniel Overbey, seek to rezone it as Office in order to develop it.

Phyllis Trento, The Mill at Choto Homeowners Association president, said she opposes the rezoning. Trento said the property is Lot 19 for her subdivision.

“We would not support anything other than a home,” she said regarding further development of the property.

“If the [Knox County] Planning Commission rezoned a lot in any subdivision, then, they can do it in our subdivision also. There’s nothing stopping a homeowner then from bulldozing their home and selling it to a gas station or a hotel or anything else,” Jack Shaffe, Montgomery Cove Homeowners Association board member, said.

Knox County Commissioner John Schoonmaker, 5th District, said, “There’s some confusion on the legal documents for the homeowners association, be-cause it specifically says Lots 1 through 18 have to be residential homes, and this is Lot 19. Who’s going to buy that lot and face a roundabout?

“I don’t think you’d find anybody that would do that, particularly a family … So that’s why the Metropolitan Planning Commission said they didn’t see that that lot would ever be developed for a single family home. That’s why they thought an office designation was appropriate. ... There’s a gray area on this lot. It’s not black and white.”

Arthur Seymour, attorney for Bentley, said the covenants for The Mill at Choto “specifically do not apply to this lot.”

“I have talked to the lawyer who prepared the subdivision documents, and it is not part of the subdivision,” Seymour said. “If they think the covenants are enforceable against this lot, they should take it to Chancery Court. I don’t think they are.”

Bentley, who said she intends to operate the clinic, spoke to the critics of her proposed development during a March 26 Knox County Commission meeting as recorded on She said she only wanted the best for her community and her children.

“I live here too, with my two sons, and I’m raising them in this community,” she said.

“This will not be, nor ever will be, an addiction, Methadone or pain management clinic. ... It will only be a family practice and immediate care clinic,” Bentley said at the Knox County Commission meeting. “All I wanted to do is be what my father is and my grandfather was, and that is the local doctor.”