An inside look at the proposed resort on Watauga Lake

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CARTER COUNTY, Tenn. (WJHL)- Over the next few years, a developer is hoping to bring his vision to life on a quiet and secluded piece of land on Watauga Lake.

Developer Daniel Goodhall is hoping to build a multi-million dollar resort that would bring hundreds of jobs to the region.

The vision for the 130-acre piece land is a 20+ room inn with a restaurant and a space for corporate events and weddings.

  • Phase One would include the construction of an inn and other amenities overlooking the lake, including a restaurant. 
  • Phase Two would include the construction of an amphitheater that could be transformed into a skating rink during the winter for community use.
  • Phase Three would include the construction of private villas and condos. 

“The economic impact to the region is millions of dollars, tens of millions of dollars,” said Goodhall. 

“If it’s done right it could really drive in a lot of business and tourism,” said Kenneth Harry, who owns a lakeside restaurant and convenience store. 

Still, it’s an idea that has people in the surrounding community of Butler divided.

While some are on board with the idea, others have created a petition hoping to stop the project in its tracks. More than 1,000 people have signed that online petition so far.

Butler resident Sandra Courtner is one of them. “I’m against it because I think it’s going to ruin the lake,” she said. 

Doug Phillips has lived near Watauga Lake for decades and said most neighbors he’s talked to are also against it. “The reason they’re out where they are is for the peace and tranquility so they really aren’t very interested in seeing it change that much,” said Phillips. 

Goodhall said his team has taken great care to make sure the resort blends in with the existing scenery. “We really want the resort to be part of the land, not sitting on the land,” he said.

“It will not consist of any high-rise buildings that would be a detriment to that area,” said Ken Ross, the architect and designer for the project. “There are some areas already cleared of trees and we’re trying to locate the buildings in that area to not disturb the views of the mountain or lake.”

Ross and Goodhall also point out that this will be a community destination, not just a place for tourists. They want the lower ground area they call “the village” to be a place where local families and friends come together. 

But Phillips and Courtner said they’re also concerned about safety. 

As it sits right now there is a very narrow road leading up to the resort.

Goodhall said they plan to widen and repave the road and added that parking would be on site and out of the view of the public.

Goodhall said they plan to break ground on phase one of the project this year and wrap up by summer of 2020. They’re aiming to complete phase two by summer of 2021, he said. 

The Carter County Commission is expected to discuss the lakeside resort in its next meeting on April 15th.

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