Lookout Mountain, Tn., Goes A Year Without A Burglary; New Short Term Rental Policy To Be Drafted

Wednesday, January 9, 2019 - by Gail Perry
Samantha Van Alstyne  is the town's new assistant treasurer
Samantha Van Alstyne is the town's new assistant treasurer

Increased activity by the police department in Lookout Mountain, Tn., during 2018 was evident in the yearly statistics from the department that were compiled by Chief Chuck Wells. In the town of 1.6 square miles, with 27 miles of roads, the police were almost constantly on patrol. Jim Bentley, commissioner of fire and police, said that in 2018 there were no burglaries. That was linked directly to the vigilance provided by the 60,518 miles that police patrolled during the year and to the 1,305 traffic stops that were made. Additionally, during the year the police investigated 152 suspicious persons, vehicles or activity.


In all, there were 2,870 calls made to the police department in 2018.

Officers responded to 103 assist citizen calls and 351 calls to 911. The department employees are all trained in firefighting and in emergency medical response in addition to police work. Five officers are trained paramedics and there are three Advanced Emergency Medical Technicians. The AEMTs have received an additional full year of training in basic life support practices, above that of an EMT. There is at least one paramedic or AEMT and usually more, present on every shift and every medical call in order to give advanced life support, if needed. Lookout Mountain, Tn. also provides medical personnel to residents of Lookout Mountain, Ga.,through a mutual aid agreement. During 2018, 121 medical calls were answered in Tennessee and 49 in Georgia.


During the year, 243 parking citations were issued, 43 arrests were made, and there were 32 auto accidents. There were no fires in 2018, but response was made to 31 false fire alarms.


Town Attorney Brian Smith told the commissioners that he is working with the Hamilton County Regional Planning Agency to redefine the town’s ordinance concerning short term rentals such as Airbnb in residential areas. Chief Wells emphasized that the existing ordinance will still be enforced. This matter will be discussed at the Planning Commission meeting on Feb. 11 for their recommendation and will be on the agenda at the Lookout Mountain, Tn. commission meeting on March 12. Two votes will be required to approve the redefined ordinance.


Commissioner of Parks and Recreation Brooke Pippenger said that beginning this Saturday and throughout the month of January, the gym at Lookout Mountain Elementary will be open from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.  unless otherwise posted, when the court is needed for basketball games. Brandon Adams, assistant director of parks and recreation, will supervise children in third grade or older without their parents. Younger children can use the gym only with their parents present.


The skating rink is also available for rainy or cold days with parental supervision. In this space, no balls are allowed because they could hit the ceiling and activate the sprinkler system.


Basketball practices have started in the gyms at LMS and Fairyland School. Games will begin the last week of January. Baseball sign-ups will be starting soon, said Ms. Pippenger.


The council approved the annual renewal fee of $100 for the town to participate in the Bee City program.


Commissioner of Schools Don Stinnett gave dates for upcoming events at LMS. The Lookout Mountain spelling bee will be Jan. 16.  The next PTA meeting is Jan. 20. The book fair that helps support the school will be held Jan. 28 through Feb. 1. Parent / teacher conferences are scheduled for Jan. 29. Grandparent’s day will be March 1 and Night Out for Lookout will be held that night. This is one of the biggest fundraisers of the year for the school.


Frank Schriner, commissioner of public works, said that about 1,000 reflectors will soon be installed on the secondary roads. The temperature must be a minimum of 50 degrees for the work. Most of the leaf piles have been picked up and he expects a lull until brush piles begin to accumulate. The town has a good supply of road salt in the event of icy or snowy roads this winter.


Mayor Walker Jones reported that in the spring, WWTA will begin to rehabilitate the main sewer lines on the mountain. Bids have been received to correct and repair drainage problems at the commons, but the ground needs to dry out before the work is done.


Samantha Van Alstyne was sworn in as assistant treasurer by the town attorney. She will share the responsibilities of a city manager, a job previously held by Town Consultant Dwight Montague, who left the position to concentrate on his technology business. In the financial report for December 2018, she said that a large amount of property taxes, $1,063,000, was received in December. Property taxes are due by Feb. 28. The final payment of $16,275 was made for the annual audit and $2,900 was paid for the annual elevator contract.


The next meeting of the Lookout Mountain, Tn. Commission will be Feb. 12 at 5 p.m.



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