Town To Crack Down On Probation Loiterers

Several businesses in downtown Woodbury are concerned about a neighboring probation office, and the loitering by its clients which has a negative effect on their operations and the town’s image.

Ron Fryar, owner and publisher of the Cannon Courier, spoke on behalf of several existing and planned businesses on the downtown square at the monthly Woodbury Planning Commission meeting Tuesday night at City Hall.

Fryar spoke about the flood of clients which descend on the office of Providence Community Corrections on Wednesdays. Providence is the local misdemeanor probation service company. Clients loiter outside the office throughout the day waiting to see their probation officer.

Some businesses feel the loiterers are intimidating, including a next door neighbor, Cannon Arts Dance Studio. Owner Lori Christensen says her business has been adversely affected by the crowd on Wednesdays, which is the only day the office is open to local and area residents who have been put on probation by the court system. She says the situation is a concern to parents who take their young children to the studio.

Several suggestions were talked about throughout the discussion and almost all suggestions were packaged together.

The Planning Commission decided to put no loitering signs around the outside of the probation office, talk to the staff of the probation office to address the problem and have them make clients stay inside the building.

There will also be signs inside warning clients about loitering and the city of Woodbury will step up police presence to enforce the no loitering policy.

Other matters before the planning commission included:

• State Planner Shannon Copas attended the meeting for the first time. Copas has been assigned as the State Planner to help the town of Woodbury. Copas brought up training and possible future training topics but most of the Commission has already gone through the required 4 hours of training for this year. Copas will review the past training and see if anyone needs to make up hours.

 • Debbie Vaughn, owner of the Old Feed Store Antique Mall, approached the board. Vaughn is planning on opening a cafe in the Mall called The Gathering Place. According to the State Of Tennessee International Commercial Building Code it is necessary for restaurants to have a certain type of Suppression Hood System, but could be bypassed if the restaurant was just a cafe and deli in which The Gathering Place would be termed as such.

A waiver needs to come from the Planning Commission according to the Woodbury City Building Inspector, Phillip Burns. It was determined that the matter needed to go before the Council of Woodbury. A motion was passed and approved that the Planning Commission would make a recommendation to approve the waiver and present it to the Woodbury Mayor and Board of Aldermen for a vote.

The next meeting of the City Planning Commission will be October 18.