By Ed Marcum
Posted January 12, 2010 at midnight
Sequoyah Hills homeowners will be appearing before the Metropolitan Planning Commission Thursday to oppose a neighbor asking to turn his house into a duplex plus operate home occupations that would involve music lessons, scheduling musical performances and a Jewish sperm bank.
"We are very much opposed to all of this," said Jim Bletner, board member of the Kingston Pike Sequoyah Hills Association.
A duplex would be out of character with surrounding single-family homes and the businesses could become intrusive to the neighborhood, he said.
David Perkins has two use-on-review requests before MPC - one to use his two-story home at 512 Mellen Ave. as a duplex and another to use it for home-based businesses that would allow him to teach and perform music, telemarket performances and appearances, and coordinate two fertility services.
Perkins is a musician who specializes in Klezmer music, Dixieland Jazz and other styles. He said that in the two years he has lived in Sequoyah Hills, he has performed at churches, schools, assisted living centers and other venues. Perkins is asking to be allowed to hold music lessons in his home and book appearances from the Mellen Avenue address. No shows would be held at his residence, he said.
However, residents are upset at Perkins' page on MySpace.com, which has images of his property under a heading of Dave's Place and a description of a "lovely setting around a large private home in the exclusive neighborhood of Sequoyah Hills." There also was a listing of events, including bamboo flute playing on Sundays; balloons, juggling and music on Mondays; a Family Music Gathering and Drum Circle on Tuesdays and others.
Bletner said homeowners were alarmed because Perkins' property has areas of low, curving wooden bench-like structures that resemble an amphitheater, although Bletner said he is not aware of any performances being held there. Perkins said the wooden forms are terraces that were put in place long before he bought the property to control drainage and he has rebuilt them as pleasant areas to sit and enjoy the yard. He said he held a neighborhood party when the work was complete and put photos from that on his MySpace page.
Asked to explain the event listings, Perkins said he simply made them up to make his business appear more impressive to attract more bookings.
"That was just hype," he said. "How big do I have to be to get somebody's attention to talk to me on equal-part terms as an entertainer? It's marketing; it's hype."
None of the events are taking place, and Perkins said he has removed them from his MySpace page.
Neighbors also are alarmed at two Web sites Perkins operates for a fertility business - http://www.jewishspermdonor.net and http://www.jewisheggdonor.net.
Perkins said these are part of his business called Family Building LLC, which he describes as a referral service for couples seeking medical options to try to conceive. This is all done by telephone and computer and all medical procedures take place in proper facilities and not in his home, Perkins said.
Jewish Egg Donor arranges for women to donate eggs and Perkins appears to be the primary donor source for Jewish Sperm Donor. The "donor information" part of the site gives his biography, education and achievements and talks of his willingness to donate sperm to help childless couples become parents. Perkins said his motivations are religious.
"The Torah commands us to be fruitful and multiply," he said.
Approval of the duplex request would allow Perkins to be in line with a Knoxville ordinance requirement that no more than three unrelated people be allowed to rent in a home zoned for single-family occupancy. Perkins said six people, including himself, have been sharing the home, including a couple with disabilities.
Perkins said the activities he proposes will hardly be noticed by the neighborhood. In fact, he has been doing most of them for nearly two years without anyone complaining. The MPC planning staff is recommending the duplex request be denied as out of character with the neighborhood but is recommending approval for the home occupation requests subject to a list of conditions.
Business writer Ed Marcum may be reached at 865-342-6267.
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Tags: jewish sperm bank, neighbors, complaints
Location: Knoxville, Tennessee, United States (load item map)
Marked as: approved
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