Lookout Mountain, Tn., Facing Plumbing Woes; Erection Of Cell Tower May Start This Summer

Wednesday, February 15, 2017 - by Gail Perry

The town of Lookout Mountain, Tn., is facing plumbing problems, officials said Tuesday.


Public Works Commissioner Walker Jones said the department has been busy for over a month working with the Parks and Recreation Department and Commissioner Brooke Pippenger in trying to solve plumbing problems at Navarre Pavilion. The town has had five plumbing companies and the WWTA inspect lines without being able to identify the cause.

The bathrooms are now functional and more testing will be done this week. If it turns out to be an issue with the connection of PVC pipe that comes from the building, joining the old cast iron ones in the street, the WWTA will take care of it with no cost to the town, said Commissioner Jones.


Additionally, a break in the water line going into the building was discovered Monday. That will require the bathrooms and driveway into the Commons to be closed again while plumbers find the location and make the repairs.

The town has plenty of salt left for the streets this year after a mild winter, officials said


Progress is being made on the cell phone tower, said Dwight Montague, town consultant. Gulf State Towers is in negotiations with two providers and, when one is secured and FCC approval has been received, the company will be ready to begin construction. It is expected to be started this summer. Some historical and environmental groups will weigh in on the appearance of the tower despite the town’s ordinance requiring it to be a “close-mount” style.


Lookout Mountain, Ga. will participate with Lookout Mountain, Tn. in making dumpsters available for all residents. Instead of being on the mountain bi-monthly, there will now be a dumpster on the first weekend of every month with each town paying for six months.


Commissioner Pippenger said that sign-ups for baseball and softball are now taking place and all information and forms are available on-line. She also expressed sorrow, on behalf of the town, to Gwin Tugman for the loss of her husband. Ms. Tugman is an important part of the recreation program, she said.


The public works department is very concerned with the presence of hemlock wooly adelgids that are now spreading to trees all over the mountain. “It’s here,” said Commissioner Jones, and the mountain has thousands of hemlocks. He has joined with Jimmy Stewart to ask all residents to address the problem and treat their trees. Without treatment they will die, which would have a huge impact on the visual beauty, wildlife and property values, he said. Mr. Stewart said no spraying should be done since it has a negative effect on bees, but products can be applied to the soil and base of the trees that should eliminate the pests. Treatment can be made by homeowners or professionals. Specific information will be sent to residents in the town and handouts can be picked up at town hall. Mr. Stewart also is planning to have a public meeting to discuss the issue.


Statistics for January from the Fire and Police Department were compiled by Chief Randy Bowden and presented by Commissioner of Fire and Police Jim Bentley. The commissioners were told that police answered 93 calls, patrolled 3,359 miles, responded to 18 burglar alarms, all false, assisted four citizens, and answered 20 calls to 911.


There was one auto accident with an injury, 13 traffic stops, three arrests, one for domestic violence, three petty thefts and no burglaries. Response was made to one fire alarm due to a ruptured gas line, and there were 11 medical calls with two as mutual aid to Georgia.


The town will soon be looking at a fairly substantial expense to replace the parking meters at the Incline and Point Park. The meters are old and replacement parts are no longer available for repairs.


Commissioner Bentley also reported that a lot of signs around town are missing or have been vandalized. Public Works Director Corey Evans has been replacing them, but problems have been created for emergency vehicles and delivery services looking for addresses.


“Be aware that the liability of owning a dog has gotten greater,” Commissioner Bentley said. There were a lot of issues with dog bites last year. According to new state laws, a dog running at large is now a Class C misdemeanor, and, if it causes property damage, it is a Class A misdemeanor. If a dog causes bodily injury to another, it is considered a Class E felony and Class D felony if the injury is serious. If the dog causes the death of another, it will be a Class C felony.


The robotics team from Lookout Mountain Elementary won a slot in the regional Georgia state competition. They were one of just five teams that represented Chattanooga, said Commissioner of Schools Don Stinnett. He also said that Night Out for Lookout, an exciting event for the school, will take place on Feb. 24 at the Fairyland Club. The party will include dining, dancing, a live band, donations and an auction. It will begin at 6:30 p.m. Grandparents Day at the school will be earlier that day.


Mr. Montague reported that the budget is right on target, but there are pending expenses due to the plumbing problems at the Commons. He gave a reminder that Feb. 28 is the last day to pay property taxes without a penalty.


Representatives from the advisors at Tennessee Municipal League have made several recommendations for the town. Full compliance with the drug-free workplace act is encouraged. The suggestion was made to put a social media policy in place due to participation with the website livingonlookout.com, and to have an Interlocal agreement with Lookout Mountain, Ga., because of sharing the security camera system. A recommendation was also made concerning workers compensation and members of the fire department.


An update was given on two important issues facing the town. Town Attorney Brian Smith said that the Hamilton County Regional Planning Agency (RPA) must approve zoning changes and it suggested alterations to the plan that the town submitted regarding short term rentals. The suggestion is to limit the practice to the commercial zone. It will be considered at the March commission meeting. Mayor Carol Mutter said that she is hopeful that state legislators will decide to leave the decision about short term rentals with individual municipalities.


Mayor Mutter announced that the Hamilton County Commission has come to an agreement that the small towns in the county, including Lookout Mountain, Tn., will not have to pay half of the property reappraisal costs in 2017. Kudos to County Commissioner Joe Graham, she said, for supporting that decision for this year and hopefully, going forward.




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