Red Bank Commission Denies Rezoning Request For Large Gas Station

Wednesday, July 20, 2022 - by Gail Perry

A request to rezone property at 510 and 546 Morrison Springs Road to Commercial was denied at the Red Bank Commission meeting Tuesday night. The developers were making the request to build a large convenience store/gas station. The property consists of four parcels with 15 percent of the land being an easement reserved for transportation services. The current R-4 Special Zone near Erlanger North is intended for professional services and mixed used that could potentially include housing. The city would have to buy other property and rezone it to R-4 in order to have a location for certain uses, and it would be spot zoning not adhering to the city’s vision, officials said.

The 6.4 square mile city already has 10 gas stations, plus it is widely believed that the demand for gas stations is dwindling with the development of electric vehicles, so there may not be a use for that amount in the near future. For those and a long list of other reasons, a motion to deny the zoning change passed unanimously, prompting the withdrawal of the rezoning request from the developer. 

Red Bank is set to take advantage of multiple grants. The commissioners voted to accept a grant for $112,428 from TDOT for urban transportation planning to identify future transportation systems that will be needed in the area. The city will have to contribute 10 percent, or $12,492 toward the work. 

To develop a comprehensive safety plan, Red Bank will apply for the Safe Streets for All Grant from the U.S. Transportation Planning Organization. This application will be made jointly with Chattanooga to improve safety and sets up a safety committee for reducing fatalities and serious injuries on America’s roadway system, specifically for the Chattanooga metropolitan jurisdiction. 

For the last two years, Red Bank has applied for but failed to receive a multi modal grant. It would be used for improvements on Signal Mountain Road to the Stringer’s Ridge Tunnel. The application will be made jointly with the city of Chattanooga this year. Tuesday night, the commissioners voted to try again and pledged to support a 10 percent match of $125,000 if it is received. With the application, the city also committed to all future maintenance once the project is complete. The maximum grant amount including the city’s contribution, would be $1,125,000. 

An agreement with a non-profit environmental group known as “Waterways,” was authorized. With the focus on erosion control for the Mountain Creek Watershed and to stop stormwater runoff, the group plans to build a rain garden next to the new playground near the community center. This will be done with no matching money needed from the city, but Red Bank will supply materials and labor which can be provided by volunteers. The work is expected to be done in the fall. 

The city will also apply for a “Placemaking Grant: from the Greater Chattanooga Realtors in an amount of up to $25,000. If received there will be a call for artists to design about a dozen different wrappers that cover signal boxes around the city. The city would pay for the work up front to later be reimbursed. 

A gift of $300 was made to Red Bank for the purpose of enhancing the new pickleball courts at 3817 Redding Road with sun shades. Employees with the public works department will do the installation along the fencing. The donation was made by a number of people who have been using the courts, some residents and some who live outside of Red Bank. Several residents thanked the commissioners for building the courts, saying that there are sometimes 40-50 people there at one time with all courts being used and people waiting. Commissioner Ed LeCompte, who is on the committee for public parks initiative which aims for a 10 minute walk to get to a park in the city, said that the committee is discussing where more pickleball courts could be built. 

The approval for purchases was also on the agenda Tuesday. The police department will be getting three police interceptor utility AWD hybrid vehicles and one Explorer four wheel drive 4x4 hybrid vehicle for the total amount of $172,791. It was noted that these are the first hybrid vehicles in the city’s fleet.

A new high speed digital messaging sign will be installed in front of city hall for the amount of $35,950. It will be bought with American Rescue Plan / COVID relief funds. 

An agreement with McKamey Animal Center in the amount of $73,490 was renewed for the third year for animal control.

 A renewal of an agreement with Wiser Consultants for an extension of three additional years was approved. The hourly prices were the only change to the contract for engineering and surveys. Having this in place will give the city the ability to call on Wiser if emergency repairs are needed, without having to put the work out for bid. 

Before the election, Red Bank established the salary for the city court judge for the next eight-year term. The salary starts at $2,416 per month in 2022 and with a cost of living adjustment each year, will end at $2,972 on the last year of the term. 

And on the final reading, the city’s liquor ordinance was updated and simplified. The revision eliminates the distance requirement of 300 feet from a church, daycare or school facility to a place selling liquor. 

Some announcements include that pool hours will continue from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays and from 1-5 p.m. on Sundays, until Aug. 7. After Aug. 7, the pool will be open only on the weekends through Labor Day. 

The WWTA received a bid that was $3 million above expectations for needed work in Red Bank. Representative to the WWTA, Councilman Pete Phillips told the commissioners that the scope of the work had to be shrunk to match the available money. 

Six new jobs that were included in the 2022-2023 budget are being put on the website. The first will be for a fire inspector and applications for that job will close on July 21. Other positions will follow. 

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