Lookout Mountain, Ga., Moving Forward On Comprehensive Plan

Friday, July 13, 2018 - by Gail Perry

The Lookout Mountain, Ga. City Council was told at the July meeting that the new comprehensive plan for the town is moving forward. With the help of Covenant College students, an email list is being compiled. The list now has 1,600 names and 1,150 email addresses. When completed, an email will be sent to all residents on the list to confirm the information is correct and to request cell phone numbers. Residents will be emailed surveys regarding the comprehensive plan in order to determine future development of the town and emergency alerts can be sent to cell phones. Those people who have access to the list will sign a confidentiality and non-disclosure agreement.

The comprehensive planning committee has been divided into seven sub committees to allow people to work on the areas that they are interested in. The seven groups will work together to complete the final plan. If there is a formal meeting of any of these groups with a quorum present, City Attorney Bill Pickering advised that it must follow the open meetings law.

The council gave final approval for the creation of the new position of Building and Land Use Administrator. Community volunteer Jimmy Campbell was appointed to that position. He will assist individuals and businesses in the process of applying for permits for buildings and other structures including fences, and provide guidance regarding the ordinances, codes, regulations and procedures. He will review applications and plans, assist in inspections regarding land use and compliance of codes. He will also make recommendations to the Planning Commission. This job is advisory in nature with all final decisions made by the Municipal Planning Commission. This commission is now in the process of cleaning up the rules on the processes used to recommend permitting.

Council member Taylor Watson reported on activity in the police department during June. Officers patrolled 3,376 miles, made 39 traffic stops, issued 10 citations and gave 28 warnings. There were three automobile accidents that all involved buses on McFarland Road on the way to Covenant. Representatives from the town plan to request that GDOT post "No Buses" signs on McFarland. During the month Police responded to 12 alarms, all false, no fire calls, 11 assist citizens, six motorist calls, and assisted the Lookout Mountain, Tn. police on three occasions. Four suspicious persons and two suspicious vehicles were investigated in June. Response was also made to 15 medical calls. No burglaries and one theft occurred during the month.

Wes Hasden, chairman of the sewer board, has found a replacement for Jimmy Campbell who is leaving the sewer board and is taking on the new Building and Land Administrator job. Mr. Campbell will remain on the sewer board until his replacement can start at the end of 2018. Mr. Hasden also requested that a member of the City Council help the sewer board by monitoring expenses, making recommendations and signing checks and contracts which the volunteer sewer board members cannot do. Councilman Arch Willingham was recommended for this position because he will be able to give his professional opinion based on his experience and knowledge of construction. The final decision on issues will still come before the entire council.

Repairs planned for the sewer system has hit a snag, said Mr. Hasden. One contractor has withdrawn his bid because he recently determined the need to put in a bypass during the construction, due to safety concerns. This will add $20,000 to the cost of the project. The additional expense may be offset because trucks that had been planned for moving waste during construction will no longer be needed. The additional $20,000 will come from SPLOST dollars in case it is needed.

Mayor David Bennett told the council that the town is getting quotes to resurface the sidewalks along Lula Lake Road with TSPLOST funds. He also said that Walker Jones, commissioner of public works in Lookout Mountain, Tn., Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke and Mayor Bennett have met with TDOT to discuss the dangerous curve at the bottom of Ochs Highway, and to find a way for large vehicles to maneuver the road safely. He said the conversation has started but the solution will take time.

In the past, a large parcel of land bordering Lula Lake Road was divided. The town’s public works department is now located on part of that property which adjoins Mark Wardell’s land. The property line now is in the center of his driveway and he has a permitted easement. For six years, Mr. Wardell has maintained the strip of land owned by the city by trimming trees. He came to the council meeting to ask the city to deed those .25 acres to him. The property is too small to build on. A formal declaration of no value will be prepared by the August meeting when the council plans to deed the land to Mr. Wardell.

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