Voges Property Added To Lookout Mountain, Ga., Commercial District; Blair Ramey Leaves Council

Friday, February 22, 2013 - by Gail Perry

A re-zoning ordinance to extend and delineate Lookout Mountain, Ga.'s commercial district and to remove it from multi-family zoning was given approval on second reading at the city council meeting Thursday night. This will add land owned by Greg Voges to the area that will become the new town center.

To update the council, Mayor Bill Glascock informed them that over the last week, there have been a lot of conversations about the Town Center development. He said, “I’m confused, but we’re continuing to press forward.

” He said there is a need to listen to everyone who is interested in building it. He ended by saying that the developers feel the need for private negotiations so he was not free to say anything more.

At the close of the regular meeting, the council and attorney held a closed-door session with Jimmy Chapin, who was picked earlier to develop the Town Center.

A discussion about the creation of a sewer board continued from the last council meeting. A description of what the board would do and a general outline is needed from the council before it can be sent to City Attorney Bill Pickering to create the ordinance. The consensus of the council was that the purpose of a sewer board would be advisory in nature, and would be for gathering information in order to understand everybody’s position. It would have no authority to set rates, but would help determine the best plans for spending. It is visualized as a body that could get information ready for the council to vote.

Covenant College, Brow Woods and the community of Krupski Loop, which is not within the city limits, shares the sewer system used by Lookout Mountain, Ga. and should have a voice, it was stated.. The composition of this board is yet to be determined, but most likely will have three-five members, including City Manager Brad Haven, two residents of the city, a representative from Covenant and another to speak for the other areas that use the sewer system. If the board has supervisory ability, it will need to be determined how it ties into the city manager’s authority.

In the monthly stormwater and sewer report, Mayor Glascock told the council that the current budget allows for two laborers to work on the sewer system. It is their responsibility for daily checks and work such as fixing the pumps.

Mayor Glascock announced a major change to the council. Blair Ramey’s seat will be vacated because he is moving across the state line into Tennessee. “You did a great job” he told Mr. Ramey, to which he responded that serving on the council had been a wonderful experience and that he felt good about the hands the city is in. He also told them even though he won’t be able to vote; he will continue to offer opinions, assistance and advice.

It is important to find a replacement quickly, said the mayor, and will be important to appoint someone that is familiar with real estate. He went on to recommend Beth Soloff, who was also endorsed by Councilwoman Taylor Watson. Ms. Watson told the council that she had worked on the planning commission with Ms. Soloff seven years, that she is level headed and understands development and zoning, which will be important in the development of the Town Center. Ms. Soloff was nominated to fill the position that Mr. Ramey is leaving.

Councilman Jim Sabourin reported that he had met with Dwight Montague, town consultant for Lookout Mountain, Tn,. about the creation of a joint website. The purpose of the site would be two-fold, he said - to promote the mountain as a great place to live as well as a place to post community news such as changes to schedules of sporting events, or notification if a boulder falls into a roadway. Tennessee anticipates the cost to create the site at $30,000 and is asking Georgia for half the amount. Mr. Sabourin said he thought it would be a good investment and could probably be done for less than the estimated cost. The suggestion was made to use funds from the hotel/motel tax for this project.

The cost to maintain the website would be a necessary monthly expense, since it would need to be constantly updated. The price to do this is estimated to be $750 from each town monthly. It was acknowledged that this would need to be a dedicated position.

Mr. Sabourin said the focus of this new website should be on promoting the mountain. He said Tennessee is missing a written business plan, and he would need to have that in order to commit taxpayers’ money. Because Tennessee is anxious to get started, Mayor Glascock suggested setting up a meeting before next month’s council meeting with Mayor Carol Mutter from Tennessee. Both he and councilman Sabourin plan on attending.

During the comment section of the meeting, it was announced that Chanticleer Inn has recently been chosen as one of the best 25 Bed and Breakfasts in the U.S. by Trip Advisor in their 2013 traveler’s choice hotel awards.

A concerned citizen asked the council if a phone number could be created for providing road conditions to the public. She said that if there is a weather event, no one answers if city hall is called. Mayor Glascock told her it is a matter of manpower. Sometimes there is only one person on duty at a time and systems such as instant messaging are expensive.

gailaperry@comcast.net

 


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