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published on 05/16/2001

May 2001 Signal Mountain Town Council Meeting

By staff writer

The Town Council regular monthly meeting was held Monday, May 14th at 7:00 p.m. at the Town Hall. Present at the meeting were Mayor Jim Althaus, Councilmembers Rachel Bryant, Steve Ruffin, and Billy Steele, Jr. Absent was Vice Mayor & Councilmember Bob Steel, Jr. Also present were Joe Wagner, town attorney, Hershel Dick, town manager, and Diana Campbell, town recorder.

After the opening prayer by the Mayor, and roll call by the town recorder, and approval of the minutes from the last regular meeting a resolution approving the amendment of the Growth Plan adopted by the Town of Signal Mountain on April 9, 2001, was presented by Attorney Phil Noblett, representing the Town of Signal Mountain. The amendment included allowing the Town of Walden to have in its growth plan a parcel of land on Anderson Pike, which they intended to include in their plan but accidentally left out. In order to avoid another trip to Nashville to have the three judges decide how to divvy up the land, the Town of Signal Mountain offered to amend their growth plan to let the disputed land be in the Town of Walden?s growth plan. They accepted the offer and approved the plan at their last meeting so it was up to the Town of Signal Mountain to finalize the deal. The resolution was passed and three members of the audience held up signs saying, ?Good For You.?

The Planning Commission presented their report, which included a request to amend a section in one of the articles in the Zoning Ordinance pertaining to ?in home? day care centers. The council agreed to accept the request and to schedule a public hearing after which the change would require the passage of two readings at Town Council meetings. A group of residents aware of the day care center requesting the zoning change were present and asked for an opportunity to address the council, which the Mayor allowed. Acknowledging their concerns, the council urged the residents to follow proper procedure by addressing these concerns at the public hearing once it is scheduled. Members of the Planning Commission present other than Chairperson, Lou Oliphant were Brendin Olin and Councilmember Rachel Bryant. All were called upon to address the concerned citizens and it was decided that the issue would be taken back to the Planning Commission to get the wording more clear before the amendment is placed before the public hearing.

Boy Scout, Matt Leavens, from Troop 176 at St. Augustine?s Church presented his Eagle Scout Project to the Town Council. On June 8th and 9th, he and a group of Scouts under his direction will collect hazardous waste and chemicals to dispose of for the citizens of Signal Mountain and Walden. They will be collecting the materials in the parking lot at the Town of Signal Mountain?s Recycle Center and will also be able to pick up materials from home-bound and/or senior citizens. The council gave Matt their official approval of this worthy project.

Erin Grist, a former resident of Signal Mountain, and now of Nashville was present to report to the Councilmembers on the progress of the designation of parts of Old Towne as an Historic District. According to Erin, approval is set for May 30th in Nashville. At that time, the request will be sent to Washington DC and by September the designated homes will be registered with the National Historic Registry. A letter will be mailed to each of the homes designated and an opportunity to purchase a plaque will be made available to each homeowner. There are currently no restrictions stopping a homeowner from changing their home, but some changes could result in taking it off the historic registry.

Another citizen brought to the Council concern over the intersection at Palisades and Carriage Hill. Her concern for the safety of the drivers coming up Palisades and low visibility coming out of Carriage Hill makes it a dangerous intersection. Short of taking down the tree and/or asking the neighborhood to change their sign, town manager Hershel Dick reported that the issue had been discussed at length, previously, and the town engineer agreed with him that a four-way stop sign was the best solution.

A third citizen addressed the Council with a concern about his property being miss-used when the sewer lines were built for St. Ives. According to the citizen, not only were the lines not dug where he had been told they would be dug, but in doing so four big oak trees were killed. This citizen would like the town to correct the problems as soon as possible. Hershel Dick responded with an assurance that he would get the contractor back and get a solution to the problem as soon as possible.

Finally, during the time allotted for citizens to address the Council a fourth resident reported that he had asked for an amendment on a zoning ordinance concerning abandoned alleys a few years ago. In the meantime, other residents have spread into the abandoned alley but without taking into consideration sharing with their neighbors. It was not his intent to cause problems for his neighbors so he suggests the amendment abandoning the ally be rescinded. Attorney, Phil Noblett suggested the Town use the same procedure to resend the amendment as it did making the amendment. The members of the council agreed but suggested it go back to the Planning Commission and notify the property holders affected by the change before going to the next step.

Under new business the councilmembers discussed the upcoming Town budget meeting on May 25th and 26th. Also discussed was the possibility of a community bulletin board placed outside the Town offices with names and phone numbers of department heads and other important notices. Councilmember Billy Steele, Jr. wanted to discuss the lawsuit pending between former Town Judge, John Moon and the Town of Signal Mountain, however Attorney Phil Noblett tried to explain to Mr. Steele that it was inappropriate for the Mayor and the councilmembers to discuss the lawsuit.

The meeting was over around 9:30 p.m.

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