Signal Mountain Approves New Office Zoning Despite Opposition

Tuesday, February 13, 2018
Frank and Betty Sue Hill, front, were honored by the Signal Mountain Town Council. Also show, from left, are Vice Mayor Dick Gee, Council member Amy Speek, Mayor Chris Howley, Councilman Robert Spalding and Councilman Dan Landrum.
Frank and Betty Sue Hill, front, were honored by the Signal Mountain Town Council. Also show, from left, are Vice Mayor Dick Gee, Council member Amy Speek, Mayor Chris Howley, Councilman Robert Spalding and Councilman Dan Landrum.
- photo by Gail Perry

A rezoning request brought neighbors to the Signal Mountain Council meeting Monday night in opposition to the plan. The owner of property at the corner of Albert Road and Taft Highway wants to sell it and the potential buyer is a developer. The lot is adjacent to commercial property, but Albert Road, traditionally, has been the end of the commercial district on Signal Mountain. The developer has requested a zoning change for the lot that now holds a large, old home, from Low Density Residential to Office District.

 

“How would it affect property values?” asked Councilman Robert Spalding. “My guess is that it doesn’t enhance it,” answered Vice Mayor Dick Gee. But, he added that a vacant house and yard that is not taken care of does not enhance value either. The recommendation by the Planning Commission to approve the zoning designation to OD was considered to be consistent with the surrounding property and best use of the land, he said, and it is a logical extension of the commercial district. The reasoning at the planning commission was that OD is a step down from commercial and the least objectionable use, since it is not expected that a single family home would be built there.

 

People who are against the zoning change fear that if it is approved, a precedent would be set. The owner of the house backing up to the property in question told the council that she has been approached by a developer and is afraid that eventually the entire area would become commercial and ruin the neighborhood. “Would you want someone to put a commercial property right next to your house?” asked another nearby home owner. Another speaker asked for more conditions, in addition to those put on it by the planning commission, to be required if rezoning is approved,

 

The council voted to approve the zoning request with conditions of a 30-foot buffer to residential lots. Parking would be reduced to four and a half spaces per 1,000 square feet of building, and the development must be used as a professional office and must be only one story high. A public hearing on the change will be held before a second and final vote. If it passes and the developer fails to comply with the conditions put on the property, zoning would revert back to Low Density Residential.

 

Because the purpose of the School System Viability Committee has been fulfilled and completed with its report to the Town Council, the group was officially dissolved with a unanimous vote. The conclusion of the study is that an independent school system would be viable provided that certain obstacles identified in the report can be overcome. A resolution commending the members of the committee for their service to the town was then passed.

 

Resident of Signal Mountain Melissa Barrett asked the council to hold a public meeting regarding the study of the school system because people still do not know what has happened, she said. People still do not know why the idea was started and what was found and some are confused. She said that the same faces are at every council meeting and that the board might not know what the other people in the community really want.

 

Alexa Leboeuf, a representative from Action Plan for Educational Excellence (APEX), a non-profit with the focus that every child should have access to a quality education, offered to facilitate a conversation between the groups on the mountain that are for and those opposed to forming a separate school system. She said the organization’s goal is to determine the deficiencies and to reach a consensus about how best to address the problems.

 

A variance request to erect a message sign near Signal Mountain Middle High School was tabled until the council receives more information. Electronic scrolling message boards are prohibited by city codes, and requests from the school have twice been turned down by previous councils, said a citizen who asked the council to deny the request. Students have other ways of getting information, she said, and the sign would be a distraction to a teen-aged driver. If approved, she said, it would be difficult to deny signs for the other schools and churches. The council will again address the issue at the work session Feb. 23.

 

Appointments to the town’s advisory boards were made to fill expired terms. Ashley Henry and Doug Fuston were reappointed to the Board of Zoning Appeals. Linda Kelly, Marilyn Garner and Rita Irvin were reappointed to the Beautification Subcommittee. Leigh Althaus was appointed to the Centennial Celebration Subcommittee. Judy Ekiss and Scott Ferguson were reappointed to the Condemnation Board. Ray Boaz, Mike Richards and Brit Reynolds were reappointed to the Design Review Commission.  Barbara Womack, Clyde Womack, Anne Hagood, Kyle Kelly, Robert Richie, Jr., Joshua Rogers and Bill Lusk were appointed to the Hemlock Conservation Task Force, and Robert Richie to the Tree Board.  Rita Irvin is reappointed to the Historical Committee. Clifton Cleaveland, Brit Reynolds, and Juliana Ratliff will serve on the Library Board. Eddie Smith was reappointed to the Municipal Planning Commission. Tom Turner, Robert Barron and Mark Wyatt will serve on the Recreation Board.

 

Councilman Dan Landrum reported that a recent fundraiser to benefit the MACC raised $4,000 in cash and another $2,000 in pledges. The money is planned for a sprinkler system in the building.

 

The date for Sparkle Day will be March 10.

 

The council proclaimed Feb. 14, 2018 as Frank and Betty Sue Hill Day in the Town of Signal Mountain. The couple has lived in the town since 1959. They have been dedicated to the community, said Mayor Chris Howley and have contributed multiple talents over the years. Mr. Hill builds historically accurate model replicas of wooden ships which are intricately painted by Mrs. Hill. Each ship averages two and a half years to build. Eight have been donated to and are on display at the Signal Mountain Library.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report

City Officer Shown Beating Man After Traffic Stop Placed On Leave

Women Says Ex-Boyfriend Choked And Suffocated Her, Threw Her Down Stairs Repeatedly, Urinated On Her


Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: ALLEN, CHRISTOPHER DEWAYNE 5700 ROPER ST APT M14 EAST RIDGE, 37412 Age at Arrest: 48 years old Arresting Agency: Hamilton ... (click for more)

A Chattanooga Police officer shown on police dash cam video beating a man after a traffic stop has been placed on leave, Chief David Roddy said. The video shows a white male come out of ... (click for more)

A Chattanooga woman told police that her ex-boyfriend choked and strangled her, threw her down stairs repeatedly, and urinated on her. Michael Francis Wilson, 27, of 5202 Mountain Wood Lane, ... (click for more)


Breaking News

Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: ALLEN, CHRISTOPHER DEWAYNE 5700 ROPER ST APT M14 EAST RIDGE, 37412 Age at Arrest: 48 years old Arresting Agency: Hamilton County Booked for Previous Charges or Other Reason(s) --- ARROYO-CASTILLO, KEVEN ALAY 1699 HAMLET DR CHATTANOOGA, 37421 Age at Arrest: 20 years old Arresting Agency: Tenn Highway ... (click for more)

City Officer Shown Beating Man After Traffic Stop Placed On Leave

A Chattanooga Police officer shown on police dash cam video beating a man after a traffic stop has been placed on leave, Chief David Roddy said. The video shows a white male come out of his vehicle, raise his arms, then place both hands on his vehicle. Two officers come up to him and one begans repeatedly hitting him after he slumps to the ground. Chief Roddy said, ... (click for more)

Opinion

Don’t Trust County Attorney Taylor’s Gag Order

At this point, most of us are aware of the WWTA debacle on site selection and the half-baked planning for a new treatment plant on Mahan Gap Road. There were also untruths given to the public about the basis or need for a new treatment plant on Mahan Gap Road by WWTA. That, my friends, is offensive. Pam Sohn of the Times Free Press outed the WWTA’s false contention ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Saturday Funnies

It seems there has been quite an increase in calls from telemarketers and I asked my man Cleo if he had any idea how to stop them. “What works if you are male -- Telemarketer: "Hi, my name is Judy and I'm with XYZ Company. " You: Wait for a second and with a real husky voice ask, "What are you wearing?" If you are a female try this: Cry out in surprise, "Judy? Is that you? Oh my ... (click for more)

Sports

Hendricks, Kurtz Lead Baylor Past McCallie

It’s still the most intense high school rivalry in Hamilton County and there have been plenty of athletic contests between the two schools that went down to the wire or determined on the final play, but that was not the case at Baylor’s Jimmy Duke Arena and Austin Clark Court Friday night when McCallie stopped by for a visit. The Blue Tornado struck first with a 3 from Tanner ... (click for more)

CSAS Holds Off Scrappy Jackets In 4-A Rivalry

Both Mark Dragoo and Eric Ford are masters when it comes to teaching moments and tough love. For Dragoo and his Chattanooga Arts & Sciences basketball team it has been a brutal schedule to better prepare the Patriots for what he hopes will be a postseason run in Class A. “I think we annually play the toughest schedule for a Class A team in this area and it might not ... (click for more)