Collegedale is continuing to expand the city limits by adding properties which are in the urban growth boundaries established for the municipality. At the Monday night commission meeting the first step was made to annex properties that are contiguous to the current city borders.
When property is annexed, a second ordinance is adopted at the same time which declares the land to its appropriate use as recommended by the planning commission and which assigns a zoning classification and plan of services for each parcel. Eleven ordinances to annex property were passed on first reading Monday night with most of them pertaining to multiple tracts of land. The majority of these were designated to C-2 zoning (shopping center commercial district). Two ordinances specified AG zoning (agricultural).
The only citizen opposition was concerning the location of Hummer Automotive Repair which is presently zoned for warehouse / industrial use. The planning commission had voted unanimously to change the zoning to C-2 to match the surrounding properties in the same category. However, C-2 does not allow outdoor storage among other things necessary for that established business. Under the arrangement suggested by the planning commission, the automotive business would be grandfathered in as long as there were no changes made. The owner, however, has requested zoning on his property to remain the same as it is now because he fears loss of utility of the land and future difficulty with bank financing.
The commission decided to temporarily exclude this property from the annexations until it can be sent back to the planning commission for another zoning determination.
A second reading must occur for these ordinances to become law and prior to that the city must publish a map and advertise the annexation and zoning items. It was decided that a second reading of these issues along with the Hummer zoning request would be considered at the first commission meeting in December.
In old business, an ordinance to update Collegedale’s building codes was approved unanimously on the second and final reading. Chattanooga has adopted the most current set of regulations concerning building codes. In order to reduce confusion by builders and developers doing work in both cities, Collegedale has implemented the same codes as Chattanooga pertaining to building, plumbing, electrical, gas, property maintenance, accessibility, mechanical, fire, residential and energy.
On the recommendation of City Manager Ted Rogers, the commissioners voted to refinance an existing bond and loan at a lower interest rate in order to reduce monthly payments by the city.
Commissioner Katie Lamb expressed concern about pedestrian safety at the intersection of College Drive East / White Oak Drive with University Drive. Spalding Elementary School is also located where the streets meet, which adds to the danger. Commissioner Lamb said she had received three emails about it since a professor in the business school at Southern Adventist University was struck by a car at the intersection last Thursday morning. Commissioner Larry Hanson said that he recently got the blame for the commission since the issue has come up before and nothing has been done about it. The problem is compounded by the fact that many people are distracted and pay no attention to the blinking lights and speed through the intersection.
Creating a round-about or an elevated crosswalk was considered as was a four-way stop. For the time being, the school has decided to bring an off-duty police officer to direct traffic and pedestrians during periods of heavy usage.
City Attorney Sam Elliott was asked if it was the city’s responsibility to provide traffic police for a private school. He responded that it might be just a convenience for the public but not necessarily a responsibility. However, he told the commissioners that he will research the matter.
The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Collegedale Commission is Nov. 19 at 6 p.m.