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

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: AGUILAR, ANGULEEN B  268 MARKET STREET DAYTON, 37321  Age at Arrest: 23 years old Arresting Agency: Hamilton County FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY DRIVING ON REVOKED, SUSPENDED OR CANCELLED LICENSE --- ANDERSON, ERICA LASCHELL  2800 CURTIS STREET CHATTANOOGA, 37406  Age at Arrest: 39 ... (click for more)

Mowbray Mountain Man Shot And Killed On Hotwater Road Sunday Afternoon; Case Still Unsolved

A 69-year-old Mowbray Mountain man was shot and killed Sunday afternoon on Hotwater Road. He was identified as Roger Kelley. At approximately 5 p.m., Hamilton County Sheriff's Office deputies responded to the 1600 block of Hotwater Road for the report of a person shot. Upon arrival, deputies found one deceased person who had an apparent gunshot wound.  According ... (click for more)

The Sad Condition Of Historic Brown's Ferry Tavern

It is embarrassing and saddening how the historic Brown's Ferry Tavern looks right now. It is disgusting.    Whoever the new owner is has left this amazing piece of our local history to rot. Pieces are falling off the roof and chimney. The grounds: grass, bushes, trees are so overgrown and out-of-control that it is disgraceful.   Private property ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: ‘The Cake Is Baked’

If all goes well, and as expected, Hamilton County Chancellor Jeff Atherton will tell a group representing the Democratic Party not to ever again clutter his office or his courtroom with such a childish amount of political poppycock as will be brought on display tomorrow. The Democrats want to block Robin Smith, a longtime Republican stalwart, from becoming our next State Representative ... (click for more)

Baylor Rallies To Beat Stubborn East Hamilton

There’s nothing quite like playing one of the best volleyball teams in the state to open the 2018 season, but that’s exactly what the East Hamilton Lady Hurricanes did at home Tuesday evening. Facing the defending Division II state champion Baylor Lady Red Raiders, the Lady Canes didn’t seem to be the least bit intimidated by Baylor and even grabbed early momentum by winning ... (click for more)

CCS, Red Bank, Ooltewah Volleyball Winners Tuesday

Chattanooga Christian, Red Bank and Ooltewah all won volleyball matches Tuesday with CCS improving to 2-0 with the 3-1 district win over Grace. Soddy Daisy defeated Hixson by a 3-1 final while Lookout Valley split a pair of matches, the Lady Yellow Jackets losing to Gordon Lee before defeating Ringgold. Soddy Daisy prevailed by scores of 25-10, 19-25, 25-8 and 25-21.  ... (click for more)