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Fantasy resort may not be coming to South Knoxville as early as you thought

Boyd had previously said he planned to open the resort in spring 2020 and expected to draw 200,000 annual visitors. But those plans may be pushed back.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tom Boyd wants to build a fantasy-land resort in South Knoxville's backyard. 

But others who live in the area aren't so sure about the idea.

A group called "Keep the Urban Wilderness Peaceful" has formed in response to Boyd's plan to build a $40 million resort called Ancient Lore Village at Boyd Hollow.

The group's description on Facebook said it's for residents in the South Knoxville area to "share information, ask questions and discuss concerns with Tom Boyd's Ancient Lore Village."

Current plans for the resort include more than 150 period homes and tree houses, a 150-seat restaurant, a 500-person meeting and event center, and a 1,000-seat outdoor amphitheater on land off of Nixon Road and Old Sevierville Pike.

RELATED: A $40 million fantasy resort could be coming to South Knoxville

Boyd had previously said he planned to open the resort in spring 2020 and expected to draw 200,000 annual visitors. 

But those plans may be pushed back.

At a meeting held by the Keep the Urban Wilderness Peaceful group on Monday night, County Commissioner Larsen Jay told a room packed with people full of questions not to worry about decisions regarding the resort being made too quickly. 

"For anybody who thinks this is going to happen overnight and decisions are going to be made tomorrow, it is not,” Jay said. “The developers themselves have sort of slowed down the process, pulled things back."

For Boyd's resort to happen, the 40 acres of property he wants to transform would have to be rezoned from an agricultural designation to a commercial one, and that involves an application process, Carson Dailey, the county commissioner for the 9th District, said at the meeting.  

But Jay, who represents all of Knox County as the At-Large/Seat 10 commissioner, said those behind Boyd's project are not going to try to change the zoning just yet. 

"I was kind of looking over at one of the representatives that’s here from Mr. Boyd’s office, and I believe it’s not actually going to go through this month, they’re gonna hold," Jay said. "It may be months down the road, so there’s no immediate action that is gonna happen right now that’s gonna make any decision.”

It appeared it was originally thought that rezoning application for the project would be on the February planning agenda, but that is no longer the case, Jay explained.

"It will not be in the February agenda," he said during the meeting. 

Corinne Rovetti, one of the organizers of the group and a South Knoxville resident, said that her group is concerned about the potential for the land to be zoned for commercial use. 

"We don’t have concerns about the project per say, but we are concerned about dropping a commercial zone in the middle of an agricultural, residential community, and that’s what our issue is in terms of why we want to be organized and why we want to be here tonight," she told the group gathered at Ye Olde Steak House on Monday night. 

“We want to be clear about that, that commercial zoning is our issue—zoning laws exist to protect the rights of property owners and to conserve the well-being of a community," Rovetti said. "And we just feel that a commercial enterprise in the middle of our residence does not obey, that it violates what the zoning and regulations state, and that we have concerns about that.”

The developers of Ancient Lore Village will host their own meeting Tuesday from 6:30-7:30 p.m. at SoKno Market on Gov. John Sevier Highway. 

They say the goal of the meeting is to learn about the community's perspective, answer questions and share their vision for the resort. 

The first 150 guests will receive ice cream, according to a Facebook page for the event.     

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