Newport Planning Commission hears update on travel center plans

The Newport Planning Commission approved a plan during its Tuesday meeting to drain stormwater from the site of the planned Love’s Travel Center in Carson Springs. A pipe will go under Carson Springs Road to drain the water to an area behind the former Brandywine Creek Restaurant.

Newport Community Development Director Gary Carver says the COVID pandemic has slowed the travel center timeline.

"They wanted to break ground this fall, but now they are hoping for the spring. They hope to have construction completed and be open by this time next year," Carver said.

There have been reports that Shoney’s is preparing to come back to Newport after leaving several years ago. Carver said the restaurant chain has expressed an interest in obtaining property in Cocke County for a restaurant, "because the previous store here was profitable. But he has to find an appropriate site at the appropriate price."

The site plan for an indoor storage unit on West Broadway was approved. Spectrum Partners is putting the units at the former Mapco Convenience store location.

The body also approved two ordinances which now will go to the Newport City Council for consideration.

One prohibits electronic reader boards in the downtown area, east of Cosby Road. The second amends the permit fee structure to streamline the process but on average does not increase the permit fees, according to Carver.