A cautionary tale

After constant pondering of how to add to my meager writing cash flow, a light bulb went on. I am proud to announce that opening soon will be “The Original Sex Shop.” It seems like the county is responding well to Sexy Stuff on R66 and I’m going to tap that bigger market.
First, I needed good locations. It was too complicated inside the cities with their zoning regulations. That kept me out in the cheaper property, in the residential neighborhoods. I want to be as close to my customers as possible after all. So, we’re looking at four sites for four stores, one in Cherokee Hills in Seymour, a second down from Catons Chapel School, a third on Jones Cove Road, and a mega store on Wears Valley Road.
The property’s cheap and there’s no building code so I can save my start up money by shortcutting the construction here and there. Oh don’t worry, you’ll be able to find them easily. Without any limitations in place, I plan to put up a sign that eclipses the airport landing beacon that McDonalds erected on Chapman Highway in Seymour.
Our sign will be a big dancing pole, with a glowing figurine of one of our models scantily clad, wrapped around it. The top will have one of those fun, twirling spot-lights that zip around the sky and flash in the windows of anyone who is unfortunate enough to have a home on the heights above our locations.
And you won’t have to wonder about our merchandise either. It’ll be prominently displayed in our windows as well as advertised with great big signs. Of course we’ll have a big back lot for the privacy of our patrons.
I can see the money rolling in now, especially with our advertising. Billboards on the interstate that encourage everyone to pull off at exit 407 and head our way. Internet pop up ads as well, since everyone loves those. Hey, maybe we can do spam e-mail to everyone with directions to our stores.
Why we could be the biggest retailer of adult items in the South and it will all be in your community. Imagine the extra business we can pull in at the all-night gas stations with twenty-four hour sales. Semi-trucks, dark tinted vans and loud voices in the parking lot all through the night.
Oh, some folks aren’t happy. You’re going to protest and picket? That’s fine; it’s to be expected after all. That can’t stop us from opening our doors to the paying customers.
You say the deed has restrictions from your neighborhood covenant? Well I won’t be announcing what the new building is until after its finished and the Planning Commission can’t help you there – you’ll have to sue and by the time your lawyers are done collecting fees off of you, we’ll probably be open already. But I won’t worry about the Planning Commission, since I’m not subdividing the property, they don’t even get to review it.
Now you’re going to call your County Commissioner about us and complain? Why go right ahead fellow citizen: that is your right. But your commissioner is just going to agree with you that it is terrible and then tell you there’s nothing he can do about it.
Yep, nothing he can do. Because Sevier County does not have limitation one on where you can put a business. To control me or stop me, you would have to have zoning and it would appear the “z” word is even more unpopular than my business.
The lack of zoning ordinances is why I can do all this after all. I’ll have to say thanks to the commissioners who so adamantly oppose zoning, maybe a novelty item from the store would be appropriate.
Just relax, think of all the sales tax revenue the county will receive from my business. I’ll even collect taxes on Internet sales for them. The county treasury will benefit, so “howdy neighbor,” I’ll be moving in as soon as I can.
What? I can’t! It seems I’m too late. Other developers have already bought the lots I wanted. Who knows what they will put up or how many trees they will cut down for a view, but I’m sure they’ll be just as good a neighbor as I would have been.

Marcus Fitzsimmons is the Associate Managing Editor for The Herald Newspapers. Born and raised in Sevier County, he worked in the state and federal government before returning to Seymour.

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