The Crossville City Council ended its involvement with the Cumberland Habitat Conservation Plan Tuesday when it voted to rescind the 2007 resolution that supported development of the plan.

“The original resolution spoke about water sources, species and water quality,” Mayor James Mayberry said. “The most current version of the habitat conservation plan had none of the items from the original resolution included.”

The plan would have offered a “no surprises” environmental permitting process for future development, planners told the city in August. Developers could use the plan to address environmental permitting procedures for various agencies and enjoy reduced costs for habitat mitigation. 

The plan included five species of bats, two of which are federally listed species. Local resident Randall Kidwell questioned the occurrence of those species in Cumberland County. Kidwell said the plan considered all forested habitat on the Plateau “potential habitat” for the listed species. 

Participation in the plan would have been voluntary. 

The Cumberland County Commission rescinded its resolution in support of the plan in September. The county’s environmental committee in August recommended the county end its involvement in the plan development, which was nearing its conclusion. 

The 2007 county resolution specified development of a plan for the Obed River and Caney Fork River watersheds, both of which have headwaters in Cumberland County. 

With the county no longer participating in the plan, only about 205 acres within the city limits would be impacted by the plan.

“It’s impractical for the city to be involved any further on its own,” said Councilman Rob Harrison. 

Councilman J.H. Graham III said, “We could still come back later on if a habitat conservation plan for the city of Crossville were resurrected. Is that correct?”

Mayberry said it could be brought back to council. 

During the Oct. 1 work session, Graham had noted the plan had resulted in a great deal of data regarding environmental data for Crossville and the surrounding area. Individuals with the Cumberland Habitat Conservation Plan said that data would be made available to the city, including any studies, appendices or other information from the 11-year project.

Mayberry moved to rescind the March 13, 2007, resolution, supported by Councilman Scot Shanks. Mayberry amended the motion to include the city would also cease any expenditures for the development of the plan, also supported by Shanks.  

The motion passed with 4-0, with Graham passing.

 

 

Heather Mullinix is editor of the Crossville Chronicle. She covers schools and education in Cumberland County. She may be reached at hmullinix@crossville-chronicle.com.

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