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published on 10/09/2001

October 2001 Town of Signal Mountain Council Meeting

By staff writer

The Town of Signal Mountain Council Meeting; Monday, October 8, 2001, 7:00 P.M.

Mayor Jim Althaus called the meeting to order and led everyone in prayer.

Town Recorder Diana Campbell called roll and all members of the Town Council were present. Also present was Town Manager Hershel Dick, Town Attorney Joe Wagner, and Consulting Attorney Phil Noblett.

The Mayor called to the audience?s attention the fact that three members of the Town?s ?Family? were recovering from knee surgery i.e. Councilmember Billy Steele, Town Inspector Joe Wagner, and Town Recreation Director Scott Cook, all of whom are recovering. Mayor Althaus also recognized Patrick St. Charles III, his son-in-law who was recently honored by the Baylor School with the Distinguished Alumni Award. He also recognized Vice-Mayor and Councilmember Dr. Bob Steel who was similarly honored from McCallie School.

Robert White a resident of Olde Towne and Erin Grist, born and raised in Olde Towne, were present to announce that after three years, the area known as ?Olde Towne? has officially been declared a National Historic District and is registered in the National Historic Registry in Washington D.C. Residents of Olde Towne will be receiving letters. Those houses, which meet the criteria and are considered designated structures, will receive one letter with invitations to order a plaque for their house. Residents in houses that don?t meet the criteria will receive a different letter. In that letter will be an explanation on how their house can one day become a designated structure. In the meantime, Mr. White and Erin will be presenting the Town of Signal Mountain Library a large map of the Historic District, a book on the history of each of the designated houses, and a framed copy of the letter nominating Olde Towne as an Historic District. They will also be placing a map in the Town Hall. Mr. White thanked Erin for all her hard work and reminded everyone that this is a big deal for the Town of Signal Mountain in that, ?They don?t give these out every day,? according to Mr. White. A big celebration is planned for April 26, 2002 for everyone in the community as well as representatives from the county and state. There will be more on the celebration later.

The Ordinance amending the Beer Ordinance passed on the second reading by a three to two vote, Councilmembers Billy Steele and Rachel Bryant voting no. The only changes made from the first reading were that no person would be allowed to loiter in the vicinity of the restaurant that is selling beer for consumption and no sign shall be posted in the window or outside the restaurant promoting the beer. This new Beer Ordinance allows restaurants who have applied and met the qualifications set by the Town, to sell beer for consumption inside their restaurant. It also allows citizens to ?brown bag? their alcohol of choice by bringing it into the restaurant to drink. Both the Mayor and Vice-mayor spoke in support of the amended Beer Ordinance. Mayor Althaus assured the citizens that the Town of Signal Mountain Police Department would enforce all the laws pertaining to this new Beer Ordinance.

Hershel Dick, Town Manager, proposed a new ordinance establishing curfews for minors below the age of 18. Town of Signal Mountain Police Chief Larry Eddings requested this ordinance as a necessary leeway to avoid future problems. If passed, the Ordinance would read: AN ORDINANCE ESTABLISHING A CURFEW FOR MINORS BELOW THE AGE OF EIGHTEEN YEARS; PROVING FOR VALID EXCEPTIONS TO THE OPERATION OF THE CURFEW; AND ENFORCEMENT WHEN A CHILD IS IN VIOLATION. For anyone interested in reading a detailed description of the proposed Curfew Ordinance, a copy is available at the offices in the Town Hall. The ordinance passed on the first reading by unanimous vote.

Lou Oliphant, Chairman of the Town Planning Commission had nothing to report other than Consulting Attorney Phil Noblett is going through all the zoning ordinances.

A special meeting to approve the bid to re-roof the Mountain Arts Community Center will be held Thursday, October 11, 5:30 P.M. at the Town Hall. The three previous bids were unacceptable, according to Hershel Dick.

Under new business, Councilmembers spoke on different issues.
Rachel Bryant began with concern over a particular house on Signal Road which she is receiving numerous letters of complaint. Hershel Dick responded to her concerns, as he is aware of the problems. She also questioned the possibility of one sign on Taft Highway instead of numerous signs directing people to different points of interest like Alexian Brothers, Signal Point, Olde Towne, etc. Mayor Althaus responded that the Design Review Committee has addressed the problem and has pretty much put the decision and next step back into the hands of the Town Council. Hershel Dick agreed to look into it further. Rachel also asked if there was any resolution to the stolen flags hanging in Olde Towne and no one seemed to have an answer.

Steve Ruffin requested an update on the Duke Energy problem raised at the last Council meeting by resident Glen Baird. According to the Mayor, Duke Energy has yet to contact the Town of Signal Mountain about this issue. Consulting Attorney, Phil Noblett said the Town filed a motion to intervene. Councilmember Rachel Bryant said that Tom Baird feels like they have moved on and are looking for another sight possibly in Sequatche County. Two separate residents asked Steve Ruffin, that the Town Police Department step up its speed control on Ohio Avenue. Mr. Ruffin was himself nearly run down by a speeding motorist clocked by the radar going 49 miles an hour and was not apprehended as he evaded the police officer. In addition, he would like the Town to look into posting warning signs similar to the ones in Hidden Brook advising drivers of children who are at play in the area. Hershel Dick said he would look into it. Finally, Councilmember Ruffin suggested the Town Council write a formal letter with all members of the Council signing the letter addressed to the Hamilton County Commissioners supporting the high school on Signal Mountain. All the Councilmembers agreed this was a good idea. (At this point, Mayor Althaus gave a summery of the meeting held Monday, October 1 led by School Board Member Chip Baker and County Commissioner Richard Casavant.)

Billy Steele apologized for missing so many important meetings due to his surgery. Mr. Steele asked what the policy for ?yard sale? signs were like the one posted in Adams Park. According to Hershel Dick, if posted on the weekend when the Town Inspector is off-duty, a police officer would have to remove the sign and sight the one?s who posted it. Mr. Steele also asked about the CARTA Bus cost and he wondered how the mediation was going on the Tabb Property lawsuit. According to Consulting Attorney Phil Noblett, the chancellor has not made a decision as to whether or not the whole Town of Signal Mountain Town Council should be present at the mediations or just a representative of the Council. He promised to keep the Council informed on any new developments.

Bob Steel sympathized with Rachel Bryant?s concern over houses that are an ?eyesore?. He presented a list of 5 to 6 houses that he knew personally should be addressed. Dr. Steel had proposed an ordinance that would eliminate such problems that was ?shot down? some years ago and would like the Council to re-address the issue. Hershel Dick offered to research the ordinance.

Finally, Mayor Althaus praised the Cement Plant located at the foot of the mountain as a first class, $140,000,000 project which was able to clean up and stop the pollution coming from the plant. Mayor Althaus said the new owners should be commended because, ?What they have done is a credit to our over-all community. They deserve our recognition and thanks.?

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