BLUFF CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – The owner of a popular Tri-Cities attraction is trying to keep his beloved park from going extinct.
The owner of “Backyard Terrors Dinosaur Park” in Bluff City said he has continued to try to meet code standards set by Sullivan County officials.
We were there when inspectors toured the facility Monday afternoon.
A building inspector and the Sullivan County Planning Director toured the park as they took pictures of areas that were in violation of county codes. The inspectors will now take their notes back to determine if the owner of the park, Chris Kastner, will face a fine or jail time.
“It’s been one thing after another, different things have been added, we’ll do one thing, they’ll come back with another 10 things. It’s just gotten to a point where it seems like they really just want the dinosaur park to close down. There’s so many people that love this place and they don’t want to see this happen,” Backyard Terrors managing partner, Brittany Nave said.
According to the Board of Zoning Appeals, the park has been allowed “conditional use” or “special exception” for small events, as long as the park met health and safety conditions.
“She has proof of this. We have emails as proof that there was conversations between Chris and her [Amber Torbett, Sullivan County’s Planning and Zoning Director] said where he sent her stuff and she had received it,” Nave said.
“In the last couple years, it has really took off. It’s like the dinosaur park is being targetted. Every time he does something, they come back with a list of 10 more things to do. He’ll get approved on something, and then they’ll turn right around and do something else,” Nave said.
A letter sent by the department earlier this month stated Backyard Terrors had not met zoning resolutions.
“The only thing that we have physically not done on here is build the restroom, but we have ADA portapotties that we use,” Nave said. “We will have a replacement portapotty here on October 9th. That is wheelchair accessible as well.”
At the inspection, the Sullivan County Planning Director declined an interview since the issue is ongoing, and could end up in court. Regardless, Nave said they will continue running the park as long as they can.
“This is a place for low-income families. It’s cheaper to go here than take your kids to the movies anymore. Plus, it’s better. They’re outdoors, it’s educational. They get to learn about dinosaurs and stuff way before humankind,” she said.