For the last two years, Red Bank has been trying to attract more businesses to locate in the city. At the commission meeting Thursday night, steps were taken to further this goal by making the area more attractive. A zoning ordinance was passed to regulate building facades in the commercial district for the purpose of making the zone more pleasing to the eye than it currently is.
The newly approved regulations exclude building materials such as corrugated metal, concrete block and vinyl siding from being used on the exterior of buildings.
The city is looking for more permanent materials such as stone and brick to be used in commercial structures. The ordinance would apply to the exterior of additions and re-models as well as any new construction, but has no effect on the interior of buildings.
A map delineating the commercial district is available at the city hall or online at the Hamilton County Planning Commission’s website. A link to that site will be added to the city of Red Bank’s own site.
Mayor John Roberts said commissioners have been recruiting businesses in an attempt to relieve citizens of tax burdens come budget time. Work that has been done in the past is now coming together, and the commission is laying the groundwork for what is coming down the pike, he said. In addition to businesses, the city is seeking to bring a hotel to Red Bank, and an ordinance to levy an occupancy tax on transient room rentals is under consideration.
City Manager Randall Smith told the commissioners that most cities have occupancy taxes and that it would not be unusual to a hotel/motel developer. With several commissioners having reservations and unanswered questions about the proposed ordinance and the effect it would have on incentives for locating a hotel, Mayor Roberts tabled the vote until the first commission meeting in April at which time he plans on having a hotel developer come to explain the tax for those who are now opposed.
Condemnation hearings for three properties that were on the Thursday night agenda were all postponed. Interested citizens were told the hearings have been rescheduled for the commission meeting on Tuesday, March 19, at 7 p.m.
The Red Ginger Bistro located at 1801 Dayton Boulevard has recently changed ownership, and the city commissioners functioning as the Red Bank Beer Board approved a license for the restaurant to sell beer. City Attorney Arnie Stulce told the new owner the city is most concerned about the sale of alcohol to minors. He warned that from time to time the police department tests all businesses that have a permit, by sending undercover minors who attempt to buy alcohol. The owner of the business was also advised that he is responsible for all employees.
In the Mayor’s report, Mr. Roberts announced a meeting of the Historical Society at the Fire Hall, Thursday evening at 6:30 p.m. where civil war markers will be discussed. He also told the audience that he will be participating in an event to raise money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. From noon to 4 p.m. on March 16 at the Pizza Hut on Dayton Boulevard, anyone paying five dollars can purchase three balls and three chances of dunking the mayor in a dunking tank. Mayor Roberts also congratulated attorney Stulce for being honored as an inductee of the 2013 Soddy Daisy Hall of Fame.
Vice Mayor Floy Pierce reported progress being made in cleaning up Stringers Branch by removing overgrowth and debris. She also told the commissioners that she was resigning from her appointment to the planning board, and requested Commissioner Rick Causer to find a replacement.
The Dixie Youth Ball fields will have a 50-year celebration on April 13, at noon, announced Commissioner Eddie Pierce in his report. And the city manager informed the commission that recently he and Commissioner Causer went to Nashville and were able to talk one-on-one with State Rep. Richard Floyd and Senator Bo Watson about issues concerning Red Bank.
The next Red Bank Commission meeting will be Tuesday, March 19, at 7 p.m.