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Loudon County moratorium blocking planned unit developments enters eighth month

County commissioners weighed in about the benefits and drawbacks of planned unit developments amid a national housing crisis.

LOUDON COUNTY, Tenn. — Eight months have passed since Loudon County commissioners approved a moratorium on planned unit developments—putting developers on hold.

A planned unit development, also known as “PUD,” is an overlay to residential zoning that allows developers to build more than two homes per acre in Loudon County.

Prior to the hold on PUDs, Loudon County planners typically approved plans for 2.5 homes per acre.

Van Shaver, Loudon County commissioner for the fifth district, supports a permanent ban on PUDs.

“We don't need anymore. We've got plenty of housing in Loudon,” Shaver said. “It's 100% greed—to make as much money as [developers] can make. That's their goal and that's fine. They can still come to Loudon County and make as much money as they can possibly make, but it's gonna be two units per acre.”

Julia Hurley, commissioner for the second district, said the county should permanently lift the moratorium on PUDs.

“It’s a tax driving force for counties to be able to rely on tax dollars and not have to raise taxes,” Hurley said. “The same people you're trying to protect will not be able to afford their taxes, they will default on their properties, they will sell at a higher rate—but less than what they could have gotten it at and we will start to see a decline in the economy.”

The National Association of Realtors estimates the U.S. is 5.5 million houses short in supply.

Realtor David Ball said there were only a dozen new houses listed for sale in the last 48 hours in Loudon County.

“There's so much demand and there's limited supply. It's just simple economics. The prices are going through the roof and you've got a lot of young people that are trying to buy their first home, but they simply can't,” Ball said. “Let's find something in the middle here on the density number that works for everybody.”

The moratorium on planned unit developments is set to expire in August.

Commissioners can vote to end it, extend it or outright ban planned unit developments at their next voting meeting on June 27, but a commission workshop must happen before a vote.

The next workshop is set for June 20.

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