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published on 01/15/2001

January 2001 Signal Mountain Town Council Meeting

By staff writer

Mayor Althaus opened the meeting with a prayer and thanked everyone on the council for postponing the regularly scheduled meeting from January 8 to this night. The reason for the change was the death of the Mayor?s son whose services were held on January 8th.

All members of the council were present including the town manager, Hershel Dick, town recorder, Diana Campbell, and substituting for town attorney, Joe Wagner was Phil Noblett. Joe is recovering from open-heart surgery and doing well, according to the Mayor.

The second and final reading of the ordinance to change the number of members of the Planning Commission from not less than nine, nor more than ten was approved. The Mayor reminded the audience that the commission has expressed a desire to ask Brendan Olin to serve on the commission, which he as said he would be willing to do if asked. Now that can be done with the number change in membership.

During the citizens? opportunity to address the Council, John Clark, chairman of the Signal Mountain Recreation Committee, Inc. expressed his concern about two issues concerning the new Hamilton County Nolan Park. Because the county is only committed to maintain the road leading up to the park and the land around the perimeter volunteers are maintaining the grounds with private funds raised by the Recreation Committee. This commitment is far more demanding than anyone on the committee anticipated, both financially and physically. Mr. Clark would like to see the towns of Signal Mountain and Walden assume some of the responsibility. The second issue is that there needs to be, in his opinion, someone or some body to oversee the running of the whole park somewhat like Scott Cook runs the recreation department of the town of S.M. Several members of the different leagues, soccer and baseball were in the audience to address questions from the council. Hershel Dick suggested that he and members of the Recreation Committee and Scott Cook get together and try and come up with some sort of solution. The members of the council agreed this was a good idea as the goal of everyone is to enhance communication between the two towns and the county residents ? bring the mountain top together ? to let this park be a unifying force.

District III, Hamilton County Commissioner, Richard Cassavant, also present at the meeting addressed the council after Mr. Clark. He assured the council that to him the park is important but that the County is not in the ?park? business. He also alluded to the fact that when he asks for support for the mountain there is a misconception from other members of the County Commission that Signal Mountain is some sort of ?Disneyland?. He brought to our attention two issues. One is the future of the high school, which he feels is closer to happening that it has ever been. Both Superintendent Jessie Register and County Executive, Claude Ramsey expressed verbal support of the high school. The high school is part of Phase II and with Phase I practically complete, it is now a matter of money and a few political issues. He feels sure that the architects will be appointed this spring so that when the money is there the plans will be ready. The second issue he spoke on was the 20/20 Growth Plan, which the municipalities and county representatives will be meeting again this week in Nashville to come to a compromise.

Bill Wilkerson, chairman of the Design Review Commission reported to the council that the commission had met and discussed the off-site signs. The commission concluded that if off-site signs were to become part of the town of Signal Mountain they would have to be approved by the town council, made by the town, and consistent so that all would be alike. Also the issue as to whether or not allow businesses to use such signs needs to be discussed. Other members of the DRC contributed to the discussion answering questions by the council, accompanied Mr. Wilkerson. The final recommendation was that the DRC be allowed to take two or three months to design an informational off-site sign (researching other towns and getting suggestions) and then make a recommendation to the council.

J. B. Bailey, a resident of Signal Mountain, and employee of Bellsouth Telecommunications addressed the council concerning the approval of a new cross-box and driveway at 1000 Arden Way. There is currently a box there but a new larger one is needed. Mr. Ruffin wanted to be sure that the box would not offend the neighbors on either side of the box so the council did not vote on the approval but instead agreed to give Bellsouth permission to rebuild the box if three members approve. This gives those members of the council who want to see the sight or want to hear from the neighbors can do so.

Several items were discussed during remarks by councilmembers. These included the praise of the town maintenance department for keeping the roads sanded and salted during recent snows. Hershel Dick pointed out that reflectors damaged during this time of year are replaced when noted. Rachel Bryant asked that steps be considered to allow senior citizens and/or handicapped people enter the ?new? pool without using the current ladders, which are not accessible. Dr. Steele praised the chief of police, Larry Eddings for his high scores last year at the FBI school, which had been highlighted in the Chattanooga Times Free Press. Phil Noblett said he was glad to fill in for Joe Wagner, town attorney. Mayor Althaus reminded us once again that the town is beginning the process of studying storm water runoff, which will be a time-consuming process. Finally, the Mayor wished a speedy recovery to Mr. Wagner which everyone agreed.
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