County Mayor Weston Wamp speaks at press conference announcing a comprehensive study of future growth patterns in the unincorporated county
County Mayor Weston Wamp, alongside several Hamilton County Commissioners, on Tuesday announced the county’s first comprehensive growth plan for the future of the unincorporated areas of Hamilton County.
“As we plan for the future, our aim is sustainable and responsible growth that preserves the unique and cultural aspects of the county,” said Mayor Wamp. “I look forward to working with the County Commission and the RPA to pave the way for robust communities from Sale Creek to Apison.”
He said the study, that will also utilize a consultant team, should take about a year and involve public hearings and sessions with key stakeholders.
County Mayor Wamp said overall county growth is around two percent, which he said is consistent with nationwide growth, though there are pockets of excessive growth. Commissioner Jeff Eversole said there has been 30 percent growth in the Ooltewah area in recent years. He said where it once took a short time to get from Georgetown to the freeway, it now can take up to 45 minutes.
Mayor Wamp and commissioners said the effort will include keeping the special features of communities, while encouraging planned growth in certain sections of the community. He that should lead to a rise in overall growth.
Hamilton County is working with the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Regional Planning Agency (RPA) and Ragan Smith Associates to support the planning process. Through this initiative, stakeholders will be collaborating on issues ranging from education and transportation to infrastructure and zoning regulations, it was stated.
“I am very excited to be leading planning efforts in the Mid-County planning zone. It’s important we have a structured and intentional idea for growth in our unincorporated areas,” said County Commission Chairman Chip Baker.
For the purposes of this planning process, the major unincorporated areas of the county have been divided into four regions. Each area will be co-chaired by county officials, who are listed below.
North End (unincorporated parts of Soddy Daisy and Sale Creek): Mayor Weston Wamp and Commissioner Gene-O Shipley
Northeast (unincorporated parts of Birchwood, Ooltewah and Georgetown): Commissioners Jeff Eversole and Steve Highlander
Mid-County (unincorporated parts of Signal Mountain and Middle Valley): Commissioners Chip Baker and Ken Smith
Southeast (unincorporated parts of Collegedale, East Brainerd and Apison): Commissioners Mike Chauncey and Lee Helton