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."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Tennessee Highway Patrol Arrests 2 On Drug-Related Charges

A member of the Tennessee Highway Patrol’s East Bureau Interdiction Plus team arrested two men on drug related charges in Coffee County on Friday. Driver Osman Mohamed, 40, of Kansas City, Ks., and passenger Sheikh Abdulqadir, 57, of Kansas City, Mo., were arrested and charged with possession of schedule IV drugs with intent to resale. They were transported to the Coffee County ... (click for more)

Mary Littleton Announces Candidacy For Tennessee GOP Chair Position

Former Tennessee GOP Vice-Chair and state Representative Mary Littleton (Dickson County) announced on Monday her candidacy to succeed Chris Devaney as chairman of the Tennessee Republican Party. Mr. Devaney announced last week that he would be stepping down from the position in April. Ms. Littleton has been an active leader in the Republican Party since 1994. She ... (click for more)

Physicians Thank Their Patients On Doctor’s Day

March 30 has been set aside as National Doctors’ Day since 1933 as a time to recognize the contributions made by our physicians. While the recognition is appreciated, our greatest satisfaction comes from caring for our patients.  For 132 years, the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Medical Society has been the physicians’ voice as we worked together to improve health of our community. ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The 15-Year-Old Marine

There are 58,267 names on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall that today sits majestically in the Constitution Gardens of our nation's capital. It has never been lost on me that 33,103 of those who are named were only 18 years old when they died. But what caught my eye during my morning reading is that one of the names carved in the black granite “Dan Bullock“ was only 15 years old ... (click for more)

Rail Runners Win In Double OT

East Ridge Alum Alex Wells has an impressive scoring resume from high school to now in semi pro, but missing is a game-winning shot at any level.   But Sunday afternoon in a Central Basketball Association game, he did everything but hit the winner (16 points) in guiding the Chattanooga Rail Runners to a 116-113 double overtime win against visiting Bowling Green (Ky.). ... (click for more)

UTC Women's Tennis Takes 1st Win Over Furman Since 1997

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga women’s tennis got a huge monkey off its back with a 4-3 win over Furman on Sunday.  The Mocs snapped a 24-match losing streak against the Paladins with their first win in the series since 1997. UTC had come close in the last four meetings, falling 4-3 each time.  Today’s win gives Chattanooga a 14-2 overall record as it ... (click for more)