Signal Mountain is loved by residents and visitors alike because of its small town feel, its large mature trees, green-spaces, sidewalks, manageable traffic and low density commercial development. As a Signal Mountain resident since 2000, I've always been so proud of the way that the town has protected our residential spaces from over-development.
I am warning you neighbors, this is all about to change. Bob Elliott, president of Noon Development, LLC, is planning to build a 20,000 square foot office complex at the corner of Albert Road and 1403 Taft Highway. This would be larger in size than the comparable Walden Commons located in the town of Walden.
The current property is zoned residential, always has been, with a huge green lawn and large mature trees. This property sits across from the existing Ashley Plaza shopping center which has and should be the line of demarcation between the "town" or commercial zoning of Signal Mountain.
The homeowner claims that they want to sell because the property is "falling down." I disagree, this property is not "falling down" and all properties currently zoned residential should remain residential. Imagine all the "falling down" houses along Taft Highway? Suddenly there's a strip mall. Gunbarrel Road and East Brainerd Road and the Northshore (Bob's territory) happened because there was no viable land use plan.
Rather than consider the opinions of the locals, the current Town Council and the mayor voted unanimously on the first reading which was passed on Feb. 12. Our current administration has no intention of being stewards of our green-spaces. The Town Council and mayor are siding with the developer on this one, and I promise you, this is just the beginning. We should all question their motivation. I'm sure they wouldn't vote yes if they lived on my street.
The second reading is proposed to be at the next monthly town council meeting on March 12. I am begging anyone on Signal and in Walden who wants to protect this property and the future of Signal Mountain to send a message to this administration that Signal Mountain and Walden's Ridge is not for sale.
Please write or email Mayor Chris Howley, and the Town Council members. Please sign the Change.Org petition. Please attend the final vote on March 12 at the Town Hall, 1111 Ridgeway Ave. at 6:30 p.m. to voice your opposition in person.
We will fight this one and we will win. Go somewhere else, Bob Elliott. What? No more room on the Northshore? Stay away from Signal Mountain, we don't want your parking lots, even if you promise to plant a few trees in the asphalt.
* * *
Thirty-five years ago, when I started looking for a home on Signal Mountain, I worked with the most famous realtor on Signal Mountain. Traveling Taft Highway I made the comment this would be a great place for a restaurant. The famous realtor slowed her car down and said: "Young man if you can afford to live here on Signal you can afford to drive off the mountain to eat and work."
That was true 35 years ago and is still true today.
The strip malls that are in Signal Mountain, Ashley Plaza, Walden Commons, Signal Plaza, etc., are half empty now. The person who owns the beautiful property at the corner of Taft Highway and Albert Road is trying to make big bucks (commercial property) at the expense of his neighbors. I dare say this same landowner would be angry if 15-25 years ago the property next to him went commercial with a 20,000 square foot building and parking lot for 50 vehicles.
As the most famous realtor on Signal Mountain says, "If you can afford to live here on Signal you can afford to drive off the mountain to eat and work."
Signal Mountain City Council, y'all act like you got some common sense.