Petition Drive Starts For New City Of Hamilton

Monday, November 28, 2011
Chris Matthews
Chris Matthews

A petition drive has begun to organize a new city of Hamilton in the northern portion of the county east of the Tennessee River.

Chris Matthews, president of Friends of Hamilton, said the proposed city covers an area of 15,000-20,000 residents.

He told members of the Pachyderm Club on Monday that residents in that area need to act prior to possible changes in the Urban Growth Boundary. At the request of Mayor Ron Littlefield, a meeting is set of local mayors on Dec. 15 to determine whether to reopen and make changes to the Urban Growth Plan.

Trustee Bill Hullander said at the meeting on Monday that he thought that plan was set to stay in place through as least 2020. He said under the plan the city of Chattanooga could not come north of Hunter Road.

Mayor Littlefield asked to expand the city limits as far north as the Bradley County line.

Mr. Matthews said citizens north of Hunter Road "clearly voiced that they do not want to be part of Chattanooga."

He said Hamilton will have a very conservative budget and contract for services wherever possible, including with the Highway 58 Volunteer Department for fire services and with the sheriff's office for police services. He said there are three garbage firms available so there are no plans to offer municipal garbage service.

Sheriff Jim Hammond said he has been in talks with the group and he is "keeping an open mind." He said the sheriff's office already contracts with Walden and Lakesite.

County Commission Chairman Larry Henry said, "I think the people in the unincorporated area should have a voice on what's going on (on annexation) and what they are paying their taxes for."

City Councilman Manny Rico said, "I work for the city and I try to do what's best for the city. Ya'll have to do what's best for ya'll."

Mr. Matthews said the group started meeting in August with a focus initially on Ooltewah. He said the group found interest in an area spreading all the way to the Soddy Daisy and Lakesite boundaries and all the way to the Bradley line.

He said after the group started, there was the announcement from Mayor Littlefield. Then he said Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland "said he wanted to annex to the Hamilton County line."

Mr. Matthews said his area "was getting hit from both sides."

He said it is possible for a city to extend beyond a county line, noting that Atlanta is in five counties.

Brendan Jennings, another leader of the group, said, "This isn't anything against Mayor Littlefield." He said another Chattanooga mayor would likely take the same stance on growth of the city.

Residents of the affected area may sign petitions at the following locations between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday:

Steve Ray Midnight Oil & Steve Ray Golfcarts
9043 Lee Highway
Ooltewah, TN 37363

Fresh Fitness - Publix Shopping Center (Snow Hill & Mountain View)
5958 Snow Hill Road,
Suite 116
Ooltewah, TN 37363

Gymnastics Centers of Chattanooga
6855 Mountain View Road
Ooltewah, TN 37363

Savannah Valley Utility District
10700 Hwy 58
Georgetown, TN 37336

Volunteer Electric Cooperative
8212 Mahan Gap Road
Georgetown, TN 37363

Additional locations will soon be announced; please check back at http://www.friendsofhamilton.org/petition for an up-to-date list of locations. [Sample petition attached separately.]

Friends of Hamilton is a not-for-profit 501(c)(4) organization. It was created "in response to growing demands by residents and business operators in Ooltewah and nearby communities to have a greater voice over determining the future of their fast-growing communities."

For more information on this issue, go to FriendsOfHamilton.org.

Chris Matthews and Brendan Jennings
Chris Matthews and Brendan Jennings

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