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published on 12/11/2001

December 2001 Town of Signal Mountain Council Meeting

By staff writer

The Town of Signal Mountain Town Council met Monday, December 10th at 7:00 PM at the Town Hall. Mayor Jim Althaus called the meeting to order asking Councilmember Steve Ruffin to open with prayer. Town Recorder, Diane Campbell called roll. Councilmembers present included: Rachel Bryant, Steve Ruffin, Vice-mayor Bob Steel, and Mayor Jim Althaus. Councilmember Billy Steele was absent due to his wife?s illness. Also present were: Town Manager Hershel Dick, Town Attorney Joe Wagner, Consulting Attorney Phil Noblett, Town Engineer Art Perry, Town Inspector Bill Wagner, and two members of the Town Planning Commission Secretary Lou Oliphant and member Brendin Olin. There were approximately ten other people in the audience.

After the minutes of the November 12th Town Council Meeting were approved, Mayor Althaus suspended the meeting to call to order the Beer Board, which consists of the Councilmembers. At the Beer Board a petition presented by Nino Piccolo owner of the Pastaria Restaurant was granted. According to Attorney Phil Noblett, Mr. Piccolo had met all the requirements and paid the fees. The Town Council approved two permits, one allowing Mr. Piccolo to permit ?brown bagging? at the restaurant and the other permit to allow the sale of beer for consumption on the premises. Councilmembers granted the permit with a unanimous vote.

Mayor Althaus reconvened the Town Council Meeting at which time the second and final vote on the Stormwater Ordinance was passed, unanimously. According to Town Inspector, Bill Wagner, the next step is to get the map finished, including an accurate picture of all the underground culverts in the Town. When asked again why the Town of Signal Mountain was required to do this, Mr. Wagner reminded us that this is federally mandated because we are a community adjacent to Chattanooga. This mandate is a direct result of the 1972 Clean Water Act, according to Town Engineer Art Perry. Mr. Wagner reminded the Councilmembers that all of the required six steps in the Stormwater Ordinance must be in place before March of 2003 or be subject to daily fines up to $10,000. Mayor Althaus reminded everyone that maintaining the Stormwater Plan will require funds that will need to be budgeted in the future. Members of the Stormwater Committee include Bill Wagner, Art Perry, Hershel Dick, Diana Campbell, and Don Moon.

Secretary of the Planning Commission, Lou Oliphant, presented the minutes of their last meeting, which included the re-election of members to the Planning Commission. Dan Saieed, Chairman, Hale Hamilton, Vice-chairman, and Dick Dellender. Mrs. Oliphant also presented a resolution adopting proposed areas of annexation to potentially occur within the Urban Growth Plan boundaries of the Town of Signal Mountain over the next ten years.

Mayor Althaus reminded everyone of the ?rules? of the Urban Growth Plan which the Town of Signal Mountain and Town of Walden agreed upon. First there would be no annexation within the first five years of adopting the Plan. Second the Town of Signal Mountain would not annex any land in the Plan north of Taft Highway even in the next five years. The Town is required by the State of Tennessee to publish in the paper a written plan with a map of proposed annexations by December 31, 2001. If it neglects to publish this plan then when the five years is upon us the Town cannot annex anything. Publishing the proposed properties does not mean they will be annexed only might be annexed, the Mayor pointed out. The Councilmembers approved this resolution and authorized the Town Recorder to submit the map and plan to the papers before the deadline, December 31st.

The second issue brought to the Town Council by the Planning Commission was the recommendation to accept the Future Land Use Plan Map with no changes. Member Brendin Olin addressed the Town Council on the recommendation. This map (the Town zoning map) was accepted in 1998 without changes and as required, the Planning Commission re-evaluated it and suggested it be accepted another three years. The Town Council passed this recommendation unanimously.

Under opportunities to address the Council, Ronnie Simpson requested the change in the zoning ordinance, which prohibits the sale of automobiles at places of business. According to Mr. Simpson, he needs a way to get rid of abandoned cars, which he has repaired or towed to his place of business. The Mayor and Councilmembers discouraged Mr. Simpson and went so far as to point out that he is in current violation of the Town Ordinance and could face fines. Mr. Simpson was not satisfied with the feelings of the Councilmembers and made a vague threat of lawsuits, which Councilmember Ruffin suggested might be better served if Mr. Simpson pursued suing the people who abandoned the cars in the first place. According to Consulting Attorney Phil Noblett, there cannot be a variance within the 1998 Zoning Ordinance, which prohibits the sale of cars on business properties. Councilmember Steel reminded Mr. Simpson that what he proposes to do isn?t done in a nice town like Signal Mountain.

A request from the Library Board to appoint Mr. Art Dickerson, Dr. Paul Nolan, and Mr. Dave Kemmerer for a three-year term was approved by the Town Council.

Town Recorder, Diana Campbell presented a bid to remove over 27 trees by Chattanooga Tree Service. The bid was accepted. All of the trees are on the right-of-way and in danger of falling on power lines and/or houses.

Under new business, Councilmember Rachel Bryant asked about a house on Timberlinks, which is not complete and an eyesore. After a lengthy discussion about options, no decision or action was taken. According to Mr. Wagner, the owner has until this February to complete the sight, but according to Councilmember Bryant, the owner has no intention of doing so. She recommend the Town not reissue the owner a permit, but Town Manager Hershel Dick pointed out that not doing so would leave it where it is forever. Councilmember Bob Steel once again reminded everyone that having in place a policy or ordinance that addressed such issues is what the Town of Signal Mountain needs, like the one Montgomery, AL.

Councilmember Ruffin thanked Town Manager Hershel Dick for the Signal Mountain Police action taken to prohibit speeding on Ohio, Texas, and Signal Mountain Blvd. According to Mr. Ruffin the average speed was 54 miles per hour on those people who were ticketed.

Vice-mayor and Councilmember Bob Steel expressed concern about cottage industries inside the Town of Signal Mountain reminding everyone that we are an ?upscale Town? and need to be aware of things that are inappropriate like the sale of dogs in nice neighborhoods. He also warned everyone of scams this time of year and asked everyone to not support the American Family Service located across from the Kamatsu Plant on Signal Mountain Road. Instead, he suggested supporting the Signal Mountain Welfare Council.

Mayor Althaus asked Bill Wagner and Hershel Dick to look into a report by a resident of the Town that a boarding house and with possible drug dealing be investigated. Both men agreed to follow-up on it.

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