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An Offer You Can't Refuse

When his request for variances from city subdivision regulations got shot down by a 7-2 City Council vote Tuesday night, developer Gerald McCoy repeated his intention to give 3.86 acres at the intersection of Briercliff Road and Tazewell Pike property to charity. Residents of one of Knoxville's best-preserved residential neighborhoods showed up in force to oppose him, despite a recent ad he placed in the News-Sentinel labeled "Notice (to) Residents of the Fountain City and Tazewell Pike area" threatening that thwarting his plans will result in his giving the property to an "affordable housing" agency like Habitat for Humanity. McCoy wants to build 13 condominiums. Three years ago, McCoy attempted to get the property rezoned so he could build 17 condos. MPC ruled in his favor, but City Council voted to overturn the ruling.

In the ad, McCoy said he has "invested a considerable amount of money in this property and choose not to pay taxes, mow and maintain the property. My dream was to make this the best small development in Knox County. If I am denied any reasonable use of this property, I will try to do the next best thing and donate the property to a non-profit organization debt-free," for "... at least four (4) affordable houses on or before one year from my last appeal."

Growth Boundaries

Steve Roth is a busy guy. In addition to his duties as managing partner of Baker, Donelson, Bearman & Caldwell, he has been hired by Knox County to mount the legal attack on the state's Urban Growth law and says plans to file suit by the end of March are on track. He is chugging along right on schedule despite taking a couple days off to go to Vienna and get engaged. Last May, Roth went to Hungary with a bunch of Knoxville Rotary Club types to visit a children's camp they had "adopted." They took the kids a bunch of bikes, which they rode to the campsite in eastern Hungary. When they arrived, they were greeted by some Hungarian Rotarians, who took them to lunch. There, he met translator Zsuzsanna Zadori, daughter of a local Rotary honcho.

"It was one of those 'one-thing-led-to-another' deals," Roth says.

Since then, Zsuzi has twice visited Knoxville, and Roth returned to Hungary early this month. He and Zsuzi went to Vienna and attended a musical in the old Theatre Ander Wein, where he popped the question and gave her a big rock. Details like when the ceremony will take place and which country they will live in are yet to be determined.

Mexicali Blues

Before there were jalepeno peppers or tortillas on the Knoxville market, Carmen Kurth began the Mexicali Rose in a trailer home off Kingston Pike back in 1973. Now in its second generation of owners, this long-standing establishment is closing April 29. Carmen's son, Robert Kurth, is making what he calls a business decision for a combination of reasons. In order to keep serving up those homestyle dishes Knoxvillians love so much, the Rose would have had to renew a three-year lease by March 1. The dilemma is that in 1998, the Rose joined fellow community members in a lawsuit against nearby Fantasy Video, which features adult entertainment. Operations at Fantasy Video have been forced to cease, until the court rules April 1 on whether Fantasy Video can reopen at that location, which is potentially in violation of a city ordinance prohibiting adult entertainment stores within 1,000 feet of schools, churches, residences, and establishments where alcohol is sold. Kurth's decision is based on the fear that if Fantasy wins the suit, it will continue to offer adult material. Kurth and his wife do not have any plans to relocate the Rose at this time.

March 23, 2000 * Vol. 10, No. 12
© 2000 Metro Pulse