15 Qualified Candidates Thus Far Are Vying For Cleveland City Manager; Council Studying Traffic Safety Issues On Paul Huff Parkway Near I-75

Tuesday, April 12, 2016 - by Gail Perry

Consultant Larry Wallace on Monday told the Cleveland City Council that 27 applications have been received for the city manager post, but only 15 of them qualified.


The cut-off date for receiving the applications is April 22 at 5 p.m. A selection committee will narrow down the list as will a representative from a search firm, then the two will merge the lists into one of no more than 10 candidates.

These will be interviewed via Skype on April 29 and a final group vote will take place later  that day. The results of the vote will then be presented to the council. Mr. Wallace said there are seven-eight states represented so far and three applicants are from Bradley County.


The council also voted to approve a new 911 contract on recommendation from the Bradley County Commission that approved it previously. It will be funded 50 percent from the county and 50 percent from the city and will increase appropriations to 911 by $100,000. for each of the next two years.


Rezoning issues came before the council on Monday. Amending the zoning  of .98 acres located on Stephens Road N.E. from R-1 Single Family to R-2 in order to build townhouses drew 13 neighbors in opposition to the change. Apartments already in the vicinity have created problems and the homeowners of single family houses do not want others. The change was denied by the planning commission and the city council agreed to unanimously deny the change.


Property at 4020 North Ocoee St. was approved for a change from R-1 Single Family Residential to P-1 Professional Institutional on recommendation from the planning commission. It was recognized that the nature of development in the area has changed and the property is now surrounded by other property that is no longer R-1.


Approval was also given to allow the reconstruction of existing single family residential uses within the industrial districts in the event they are destroyed. The purpose of doing this was so that banks and insurance companies will replace a house if needed.


A final update was given on the new gym at Cleveland High School, which is now almost complete with most systems installed. The official opening is scheduled for April 24 at 4 p.m. It was described as a building that the city can be proud of.


At a previous meeting, the owner of rental property requested that he be able to vote in the city’s elections, but was denied because he did not meet the requirements specified in the city’s charter. Owners outside of Cleveland have been restricted by resident requirements in the charter and a 50 percent ownership requirement. Other cities in Tennessee were cited as examples for allowing absentee owners to vote in a city election. The original issue came about to prevent a group of people from buying a small, worthless property for the purpose of being able to vote in the city. With the current arrangement only two people will be allowed to vote because of ownership of one piece of property.  


Currently a rezoning request must be advertised by posting a notice on the property 15 days from the public hearing. This timeline then becomes three days before the planning commission meeting, which leaves very little time for comment and for people to notice the signs.  Recognizing this as being a problem, Councilman Richard Banks suggested moving the requirement to five to seven days before the planning commission meeting.


There are areas on Paul Huff Parkway that are prone to accidents with a large number of people leaving shopping centers and restaurants while trying to get onto I-75, which requires crossing three lanes of traffic. A traffic study by Cannon and Cannon was proposed for the cost of $26,500. Councilman Banks said the city’s own traffic engineers should be able to fix the problem without spending so much. He added that the easiest solution would be to not allow any left turns.


Councilman Bill Estes preferred professional advice about the traffic problem. City Attorney John Kimball said if egress was taken away from properties, the city would have to compensate the owners. The problem areas are leaving Wendy’s, Target and a gas station. The vote was delayed for two weeks for Police Chief Mark Gibson to compile a list of wrecks that have occurred in the area and where the cars were coming from.

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