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published on 09/11/2001

September 2001 Town of Signal Mountain Council Meeting

By staff writer

The Town of Signal Mountain had it’s September Council Meeting on Monday, September 10th at 7:00 PM. Mayor Jim Althaus, Vice-mayor and Councilmember Bob Steel, Councilmember Steve Ruffin and Councilmember Rachel Bryant were present. Councilmember Billy Steele was absent as he is recovering from knee surgery. Also present was Town Attorney Joe Wagner, Town Recorder Diana Campbell, Town Manager Hershel Dick, and Phil Noblett, Town Assistant Attorney.

Mayor Althaus called the meeting to order and asked Vice-mayor Bob Steel to open with prayer.

The first order of business was to approve the amendment to the Beer Ordinance. After making some changes from the previous amendment (which did not pass), Attorney Phil Noblett read the new amendment. In order to sell beer on the premises a person must pay $100 for a permit and then an additional $50 year to renew the permit. There is also a $250 application fee which covers the cost of back ground searches, which are authorized by state law.

Some of the requirements of an applicant is that the premises be restaurant atmosphere serving food at both lunch and dinner times, have a minimum seating capacity of 50 people. All liability rests on the restaurant owners. A Town Beer Inspector will be appointed (which the Mayor said will probably be our Town Building Inspector, Bill Wagner) who will see that all regulations are complied with.

A license to sell beer for consumption is issued to the person who owns the business or the person who owns at least 5% of a corporation applying for the license. If the business is sold then the new owner must reapply. The license is not transferable from one owner to another. No signs can be placed in the windows, on the buildings, or outside advertising the sell of beer for consumption will be allowed.

Servers must be 18 years old and there will not be allowed any loitering with consumption of beer outside the restaurants with these permits.

Finally, the amendment clarified the definition of corkage stating that the restaurants can provide the supplies for alcoholic beverages and can charge a fee, if they desire, but can not serve or store any alcohol (over 5%) like wine or liquor. You might remember that most of the residents, including the Mayor and members of the Town Council were not aware that “brown bagging” (bringing alcohol into a restaurant and consuming it) was illegal in the Town of Signal Mountain. With the passage of the new beer ordinance this will be legal. The ordinance passed with a 3-1 vote, Rachel Bryant voting no. A second vote is necessary before the vote is final.

A resolution passed increasing the water and sewer rates for the Signal Mountain Golf and Country Club. The increase affects only the water used by the Golf Course which had been discounted but is now at the same rate as the Club House and equal to what other residents pay.

Another resolution passed was to increase the rent the Signal Mountain Golf and Country Club pay to the Town of Signal Mountain. This is re-evaluated quad annually and so, according to Mayor Althaus, was already being worked on. According to the Mayor a very sophisticated formula, too sophisticated to explain to the members of the audience, is used but the bottom line, the increase is approximately 43%.

The Council voted to give the Town Manager, Hershel Dick the authority to contribute to the cost of the Resource Officer at Red Bank High School. There are currently 162 students who are residents of the Town, however, this number is expected to flux so the amount of $5,000 was agreed by general consent. Councilmember Rachel Bryant asked where the money for this expense will come from, and the Mayor said it will come out of the Town general fund.

Several residents asked questions concerning the Signal Mountain Golf and Country Club wanting details about the original gift from Mr. James, the deed, and the history of the lease. Attorney Phil Noblett, when asked by Councilmember Rachel Bryant if giving out this information was legal, said that indeed all the information was public knowledge. The Mayor offered to have it made available to the citizens in the audiance who wanted to see it.

During the opportunity for citizens to address the Council, resident Glen Baird asked permission to speak about a very disturbing thing that could happen on Signal Mountain within the Town. According to Mr. Baird who was representing his parents, 36 of the acres his family owns on Shackleford Ridge Road is targeted to be taken over by imminent domain by the East TN National Gas Company, a division of Duke Energy. The Gas Company desires to build an 8-acre compressor station. This compressor station would be next to the soccer fields which are in the new park. Mr. Baird was able to file a motion to intervene by stopping the process, but asks the support of the Town of Signal Mountain.

Mr. Baird has contacted both Richard Casavant and David Fowler as well as Claude Ramsey. Hamilton County has filed a motion to intervene and stop the process and when asked what the Town could do, Phil Noblett said that the Town could also file a motion. The Council agreed by general consent to do everything we could to stop this action. According to Mr. Baird, the Gas Company has in their intent many false or misleading statements including saying the owners of the land support the project. That the area is not developed and the map used is out-dated showing Shackleford Ridge as a dotted line. Mayor Althaus called everyone to use as much political power as possible to stop this.

Although Lou Oliphant, Chairman of the Town Planning Commission was absent, the Councilmembers had the Commission report. There was no action to be taken from this report.

Attorney Joe Wagner asked permission for he and Attorney Phil Noblett to represent the Town of Signal Mountain in Chancellor Court in the Tabb Family case. The Council voted unanimously to grant them permission.

Finally, Councilmember Rachel Bryant asked what the status was with the Sewer Authority’s request to take over the Town’s sewer system. Town Manager, Hershel Dick said they were still discussing it. Mayor Althaus said that the City of Chattanooga has also approached the Town suggesting they take over management of our sewers.

The meeting adjourned around 8:30 PM.

Editor’s note: You can now read the official minutes of the Town Council Meetings written by Town Recorder Diana Campbell. These minutes are not available until after they have been approved. That means that to read the official minutes of tonight’s meeting, you will have to wait until next month. In the meantime, you can enjoy the “notes” I have taken.

To contact the Town of Signal Mountain .

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