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Wears Valley Master Plan

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Summary

Hillside Regulations - New Construction

Endorsement of the Hillside Development Zones and Guidelines currently being discussed by the Sevier County Hillside Taskforce.

Hillside Regulations - Existing Development

Begin a voluntary initiative for existing structures to encourage the Taskforce's idea of “visually subordinate”.

Wears Valley Road Commercial Zone - Development Standards

Preserve the Valley's cultural heritage by promoting associated development standards for the Wears Valley Road corridor.

  1. Promote Agri-tourism as the development model. Businesses with a farm-related theme.

  2. New structures visually subordinate to the landscape. Low-key signage, rural architectural style and massing, shielded lighting, and an emphasis on landscaping.

  3. Other cultural uses might include antique stores, as well as, arts and crafts related businesses.

Wears Valley Road - TDOT Improvement Plan

Wears Valley Road should be three-laned, with the center one designated as a turning lane. A traffic light might be considered at Wearwood Lane and Mattox Cemetery Rd. to control school and fire response traffic.

Crowson Trail Greenway

Along the rear of the businesses to the south of Hwy 321 a greenway might be constructed with a wide walkway and periodic benches and tables - perhaps some of them covered to shade them from the sun. It would be similar to the one you might see in Townsend, but instead of being in front of the businesses and the road, it would be at the rear, between them and the mountains. A park, including a ball field, for area children to play in should be planned.

Cultural/Welcome Center

Construct a Cultural Center at the intersection of the Foothills Parkway and Wears Valley Road and the two trail systems.

Foothills Trail Greenway and GSMNP Interface

The unused portion of the Foothills Parkway that extends from Wears Valley to Gatlinburg should be developed as a hiking trail, with a Cultural/Welcome Center at the Wears Valley beginning and a culmination on the Spur. This north/south trail system would tie into the east/west greenway of the valley and provide a unique experience for locals and visitors alike. A fork of this trail can also tie into Metcalf Bottoms.



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Details

Crowson Trail Project

This greenway would be called the Crowson Trail after Wears Valley founder Aaron Crowson. It would follow a proposed route roughly parallel to Wears Valley Road. The trail would start at the Cultural Center and proceed northeasterly, closely following property lines and Cove Creek wherever possible. The trail would adjoin property at its northern end currently owned by Andy Loy Crowson, descendent of Aaron Crowson. It would then cross Valley View Rd. and terminate at the northern tip of property owned by Ron Ogle at Parcel # 078114 - 05900. This should be approximately the intersection of Pigeon Forge's Growth Boundary. The length would be approximately 2.25 miles.


The trail would be low impact, improved to a width of 6 to 8 feet by paving with pervious concrete or other similarly pervious material to promote rainwater infiltration because of its proximity to Cove Creek. The pathway would be marked by crosswalks at road intersections at Robeson, Covemont, Bryan, and Valley View. Two covered picnic areas would be planned at roughly 1/3's of the traveled distance, or wherever suitable easements could be established. The picnic areas would be large enough for perhaps two tables with benches, and covered by a simple roof of compatible architecture. The path may include markers for natural and historic points of interest, such as the Crowson Cemetery or Cove Mountain. The trial would accommodate pedestrians on foot, bikes, and golf cart traffic.


Since the greenway crosses private properties, easements would have to be negotiated with property owners along the proposed path. It is recommended that the greenway restrict its travel to the 25 foot buffer area along Cove Creek and the zoning setbacks established by the Zoning Resolution, as these areas are not currently considered "developable" land by property owners. The greenway would likely cross flood-prone land at its northern end around Bryan Road. This flood area is also considered less valuable to property owners interested in development.

In conjunction with the currently proposed Greenway, associated long-range development plans might include:

  1. Extending the Crowson Trail to the southwest and the Blount County border

  2. Crowson Trail lighting to Dark Sky compliant standards

  3. Landscaping along the greenway

  4. A community park

Foothills Trail Project

This greenway would be called the Foothills Trail. It would follow the proposed route for the Foothills Parkway from the intersection of Wears Valley Road, proceeding east to its connection to the Spur and culminating there. The length of this section is approximately 10 miles.

Shortly after leaving the proposed area for the Cultural Center, the trail would include a southeast fork of about 1.5 miles that would connect to the Little Greenbrier Trail just north of the Walker Sisters homestead. This fork would make possible a NPS hiking path that would connect the Sugarlands Visitor Center with a proposed Cultural Center in Wears Valley.

The trail would be improved to the current NPS standard, which includes minimal impact and clearing for footpath traffic. The GSMNP would direct the course and nature of the pathway.

Maintenance of the trail could be a cooperative effort possibly shouldered by the Friends of the Smokies, the Friends of Wears Valley, and local citizens. Because of the terminus on the Spur close to Pigeon Forge, that city might also wish to participate in the endeavor; if in no other manner than by establishing trolley service to connect this site with the rest of their mass-transit system. The Rte. 321 Taskforce has secured a grant for the conversion of a trail on the unused portion of the Foothills Parkway. It’s believed that the amount they’ve secured is around $100,000.00.

Cultural/Welcome Center Project

This proposal would provide for the construction of a Cultural/Welcome Center that would be reflective of GSMNP architecture. The site would also serve as a visitor welcome center and be staffed by park rangers, representatives from the Friends of the Smokies and the Friends of Wears Valley, and a Sevier County tourism representative. The structure might be 2,000 to 3,000 sq. ft. with bathrooms for visitors and hikers, a gift shop area, and an area describing the natural landform, history, and culture of Wears Cove.

Expenses incurred by the operation of the Cultural Center and the maintenance of the greenway systems might be funded by donations from visitors, sales from the gift shop, and subsidies from the Sevier County Tourism Development Association.

Wears Valley Road. Development Standards Project Promote agricultural or agri-tourism usages for the farmlands bordering Wears Valley Road. Consider purchasing development rights to ensure the bucolic character of the valley is preserved. Create a new zoning designation with standards that emphasize a preservation of agricultural heritage while still allowing restricted commercial development. Encourage property owners along the Wears Valley corridor re-zone their property to the new designation.



For more information on how you can help "Save These Mountains", visit the Wears Valley Chamber of Commerce website.

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