City Bond Board Approves Issuance Of Up To $9 Million In Bonds For Aetna Mountain Tax Increment Financing In 5-1 Vote

Monday, October 15, 2012

The City Bond Board, after hearing lengthy presentations from the developer as well as opponents, on Monday voted 5-1 to issue up to $9 million in Tax Increment Financing (TIF) bonds for a major development on Aetna Mountain in Lookout Valley.

Developers Doug Stein and Gary and Bobby Chazen say they are planning "a small town" on top of the mountain that is now wilderness and most frequented by four-wheeler enthusiasts. Ten people have signed up thus far to build homes in the development. As many as 1,400 homes are envisioned.

The motion was passed with the agreement that a legal opinion will be issued that the project qualifies under state requirements for TIFs. Attorney John Konvalinka, representing project foe Helen Burns Sharp, said he has serious doubts that it does qualify. One suggestion was to get an opinion from the state attorney general's office.

Attorney George Masterson of Nashville, bond counsel for the project, said the developers will front the money to build a spine road up the mountain and to the town center along with a sewer line. He said they would make "draws" on an escrow account taken from taxes in the TIF district. The current "base tax" amount is $32,000.

He noted that the taxes going into escrow would not include the school portion, money for normal city or county debt service and a five percent administrative fee.

City Councilwoman Deborah Scott, whose District 1 includes the project area, asked that it be further studied, saying it was "not ready for prime time."

She said TIFs were mainly set up for "blighted" areas. "This is not a blighted area," she said.

Councilwoman Scott also said that there is only one access road to the community. She said Lookout and Signal mountains "both have two."

Bond Board Chairman Ted Mills said the project had already been approved by the County Commission and City Council and the bond board was to just make sure the paperwork was in order. Councilwoman Scott told him, "This board is not a rubber stamp."

Councilwoman Scott also said a development group involved in the project had twice failed to fulfill obligations on projects in other states. Attorney Mike Mallen said that was not the case. He said one newspaper article passed out by Ms. Scott regarding that company and a bankrupty referred to it as being a creditor in the bankruptcy, not the one filing for bankruptcy. 

An attorney for a group of Aetna Mountain residents who have been in litigation over the old Aetna Mountain Road said he objects to the developers "changing the name to Black Creek Mountain." He said it is Aetna Mountain and Black Creek "is a creek in the valley."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Many Waldens Ridge Scenes Featured In Stokes Picture Book

A number of early views of Waldens Ridge are among the rarities found in the Stokes Photo Collection. There are many photos of the roads up the mountain showing streetcars, wagons and early autos. There are scenes at Rainbow Lake, Falling Water Falls, Signal Point and other scenic spots. Several photos are included of the Signal Mountain Hotel. The more than 700 photos ... (click for more)

Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report - And Mug Shots

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: BAKER, LARRY DEMARYES 2726 GLASS STREET CHATTANOOGA, 37406 32 Hamilton County Booked for Previous Charges or Other Reason(s) BARNES, JOHN ARTHUR NICKAJACK CIR #85 POBOX7 JASPER, 37347 49 Hamilton County ASSAULT BELL, AMANDA NICOLE 3516 5TH AVE CHATTANOOGA, 37407 28 Chattanooga ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Has Lost Its Most Popular Citizen - Luther Masingill - And Response

Chattanooga has lost its most popular citizen – Luther Masingill. Although we are saddened we cherish the memories.  All of us have a Luther story.  Mine is the first time I met Luther.  This was before TV and all of Chattanooga listened to Luther on the radio.  I was 12-years-old.  Some of my buddies and I had gone to the State Theater in downtown ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Policeman’s Prayer

Every year, when the Law Enforcement Foundation of Greater Chattanooga holds its annual luncheon, it is one of the most heartening displays of what America really believes, down deep inside. The most prominent and influential leaders in the community – well over 1,000 -- gather to pay tribute and pledge their support to our heroes in blue who are unfaltering in their devotion, service ... (click for more)

State Volleyball Begins Wednesday In Murfreesboro

The ever-exciting state volleyball tournament will begin Wednesday morning in Murfreesboro with action scheduled for four different schools. The Boyd-Buchanan Lady Bucs are Chattanooga's entry in the Class A bracket while Red Bank and Signal Mountain will be competing in Class AA.  Baylor is entered in D-II Class AA. Boyd-Buchanan, 32-14, will face Loretto (31-12) in ... (click for more)

Boyd-Buchanan Defeats East Ridge 7-1 In Soccer Semi

The Boyd-Buchanan girls’ soccer team has already made history this season, but coach Todd Ledbetter’s Lady Bucs are hungry for more. After winning the school’s first district title last week, they moved a step closer to another championship with a Region 3-A/AA semifinal victory at home on Tuesday. Boyd-Buchanan, the 5-A/AA champion, defeated District 6 runner-up ... (click for more)