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published on 05/09/2006

Town Council Debates Zoning Issue

By
sigmtn.com staff writer


A three hour and fifteen minute meeting of the Signal Mountain Town Council was held Monday, May 8, 2006, at the Town Hall. Along with over a hundred people in the audience, Councilmembers Robert White, Lizetta Paturalski, and Bob Linehart were present as was Mayor Bill Leonard. Also present were acting town recorder Sherry Morrison, town manager Diana Campbell and attorney Phil Noblett.

The focus of the meeting was one ordinance being considered, zoning amendments for the Shackleford Ridge area. Although this amendment has been discussed at two previous meetings, one a public hearing for residents to express their opinion and had been voted upon and approved at the regular meeting of the Town Council in April, no one had expressed any concern until tonight’s meeting.

The residents present were clearly concerned on the issue and came with the desire to express their opinion. Mayor Leonard explained that the Planning Commission had spent over six months preparing the amendment and had voted unanimously to send it to the Town Council for approval. After a number of concerns were expressed, the town attorney offered to give a brief synopsis of the amendment. After the presentation, residents continued to voice their concerns.

Although the majority of residents expressing concern were against the amendment several long-time residents, including former mayor Anne Nolan, spoke in support of the amendment reminding others of a time over forty years ago when some of the more established neighborhoods were being considered and residents spoke against them being developed because it would change the mountaintop and make it too crowded. She said, “If the people had put a gate at the bottom of the mountain at that time, then the majority of people in the room would not be living on the mountain at present.”

Before calling for the vote, Mayor Leonard announced that Councilmember Bob Linehart had a prepared statement he wanted to read. Councilmember Linehart voted against the amendment on the first reading and wanted to explain why he was against this amendment. In view of the discussion at this meeting, it became clear to Mayor Leonard that he did not want to make a hasty decision, after such a long heated meeting, and so moved to defer the vote on the amendment to latter in the week. This was approved and scheduled.

In other business, the Council approved four resolutions. One approved the purchase of stones and gravel for routine repairs within the Town; a second authorizing the yearly auditing contract by Johnson, Murphy, and Wright; and the last two authorized a contract with Cawthorne Engineers to repave Middle Creek Road and repair the culvert at Glamis Circle. The last three resolutions approved were to authorized the advertisement for the Public Hearings to be held on June 12th at the Town Hall of the annexation of property in the Shackleford Ridge Road area. These too passed.

In conjunction with the last three resolutions, three ordinances to adopt a plan of services to those properties to be annexed were approved on first reading. Two other ordinances were also approved: one amending the gas permit fees, a second amending the code section on swimming pool and fences, and the third amends the zoning ordinance relative to non-conforming uses. The two ordinances approved on second reading pertained to the next town judge’s salary and street obstruction.

Mayor Leonard gave an update on the CVS traffic situation reporting that, according to the engineering firm, “As long as drivers obey the laws, the area will operate safely.” Therefore, the town is going to continue studying the intersection, including doing a traffic count, but has no plans to change anything at the present.

Town manager, Diana Campbell reported that the Town is going to begin selling their used property on www.govdeals.com.

The meeting adjourned at 10:15 PM. The next regularly scheduled meeting is Monday, June 12, 2006, at the Town Hall.
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