The Bradley County Commission unanimously passed a resolution approving a corridor management agreement for State Route 60 during a short voting session Monday afternoon. The resolution reads:
WHEREAS, the State of Tennessee has made it a priority to coordinate land use planning and transportation planning for State Route 60; and WHEREAS, this coordination is intended to result in the most efficient expenditure of capital funds, and WHEREAS, Bradley County has received a proposed agreement from the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT), Long Range Planning Division, relating to State Route 60 Corridor Management; and WHEREAS, the City of Cleveland and the Cleveland Urban Area Metropolitan Planning Organization have approved this Corridor Management Agreement for Route 60; and WHEREAS, a priorities list of goals for the corridor have been identified, including- management and coordination of growth, expansion of regional mobility, and improving and preserving community character; and WHEREAS, strategies to accomplish these goals have been identified and include- access management, land use planning, and roadway design and capacity.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the County Commission of Bradley County, in regular session assembled hereby approves of the attached State Route 60 Corridor Management Agreement and authorizes the Mayor to execute the same on behalf of Bradley County, Tennessee.
The purpose of the agreement is to provide a framework for the signatory agencies, organizations and governments within Bradley County, the City of Cleveland, the Urban Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) and the State of Tennessee to work collaboratively in the management of State Route 60 (SR 60) between the Tennessee-Georgia state line and the State Route 306 (Eureka Road/Freewill Road) intersection and promote safe and efficient operation, enhance and sustain economic development and support environmental conservation along the corridor.
Bradley County, the City of Cleveland and the Cleveland Urban Area MPO have prepared plans and studies describing their vision for the SR 60 corridor, including: Cleveland Urban Area MPO 2035 Regional Transportation Plan, Cleveland Urban Area MPO Transportation Improvement Program 2011-2014 and the Bradley County, Cleveland, Charleston Joint Strategic Plan 2035.
Referring to the corridor management agreement Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), Commissioner Ed Elkins said, “I support long range planning. However, I do have a concern about the section under land use planning. My concern is that I don’t want the commission to give away any authority that they currently have in being able to have the final say in any zoning, rezoning or land use plans. That subject is probably one of the toughest ones we deal with. Does this cause us to give up authority over any final decision?”
County Planner Corey Divel said, “This agreement doesn’t give up any zoning rights. We are coordinating what we do with what they do.”
Commissioner Bill Winters said, “Highway 60 is a state route. The state will definitely be dealing with this road. If we move away from this, we are going to move away from coordination with the state as well as funding from them. All of us have the opportunity to work with the state on this. This is a great way for us to work together.”
Commissioner Charlotte Peak-Jones said, “I think this is a great opportunity to work with the state and coordinate our roads so that we have better traffic flow.”
Another concern Commissioner Elkins had about the MOU is the section that reads: WHEREAS, those same representatives identified three corridor management strategies and associated tools applicable to the corridor for purposes of achieving the identified corridor management goals, including access management, land use planning and roadway design and capacity.
He said, “We had some pretty serious discussions about the land use plans around the Georgetown area. That is Highway 60. Part of that discussion was if it was in the land use plan, then you have to grant the rezoning request. So, that’s my only concern. I am going to support the motion to adopt this, but I just want to be on record as saying, no we are not giving up the ability to have authority to decide and make a final decision on rezoning.”
Bradley County Attorney Crystal Freiberg said, “This agreement binds us to work with them to develop a land use plan. Approving this motion does not approve the land use plan. That would have to be brought to the commission for approval.”
A recommendation from the finance committee for funding to purchase a pumper truck and tanker truck for the new fire stations passed unanimously. The Fire Board recommended the lowest and best bids. The cost for the vehicles was greater than expected because they are fully equipped.
The Bradley County Commission will hold its next work session meeting next Monday at 7 p.m.