Guest Editorial: To Cede or Not to Cede

editorial-logo3The following is a guest editorial by Steve Hammer. Steve is a local businessman, and holds a seat on the Jefferson County Industrial Development board.

To Cede or Not to Cede…

Over the past several months, the county commission has been inundated with the numerous concerns from the Parrotts Chapel community. These concerns primarily relate to prolonged bussing to our schools, subpar road conditions, and response times for emergency situations. It seems the solution to the problems lie in ceding this portion of Jefferson County to Sevier County.

Our school board promptly addressed the bussing issue and has improved the bussing time to well within the state mandate.

Our road commissioner is working on a proposal to resurface much of the roads in this remote community. It should be noted that these roads were mapped out and graded by the developer of this lakefront community. This development appears to have focused on maximizing the lakefront appeal and seclusion, while minimizing the impact to the natural terrain. This resulted in an abundance of curves, twists, turns, steep grades, etc. Having only a single approach in/out of this community, this same road would have been utilized when viewing the home and/or property prior to purchase.

However, my biggest concern for this community is the response time for the EMS. Safety First. So, I visited the area in order to assess the roads and the Parrotts Chapel community to get a better understanding of their EMS challenges. Like or dislike, these are the findings.

For this unofficial study, I utilized a home deep in the Parrotts Chapel community, lakefront area, and a very vocal couple in regards to ceding to Sevier County. These are google map estimates and DO NOT take any other considerations into account.

-Sevier County main ambulance service—718 Middle Creek Rd, Sevierville

16.2 miles and 31 minutes.

-Jefferson County main ambulance service—914 Industrial Park Rd, Dandridge

21 miles and 39 minutes.

-Sevier County remote ambulance service—2309 Old Newport Highway, Sevierville

11.8 miles and 23 minutes.

-Jefferson County remote ambulance service—Chestnut Hill School Rd, Dandridge

11.2 miles and 23 minutes.

Something else to keep in mind… the abundance of boats and boat docks associated with these lakefront area remote properties. I’m finding it hard to justify your defense of a need to be within the “golden hour” response time when you purchase remote property and then intentionally distance yourself from emergency services. Emergency service accessibility has been the linchpin of this movement since day one.

If the desire to be a part of Sevier County continues and things do not improve to your liking, maybe it’s time to realize that YOU made the decision to locate and reside in Jefferson County. For those still looking to be a part of Sevier County… call a real estate agent; don’t put this burden on the rest of Jefferson County.

Steve Hammer

Source: Guest Editorial by Steve Hammer