City Council’s Critical Call—Creek Consensus?

Monday, November 20, 2017

The Friars Branch Stream Restoration Project cost the city $1.2 million after new homes were flooded along Hickory Valley Road caused by inadequate stormwater management during the development of Hamilton Place upstream.  The residents dealing with the floodwaters suffered cleanup costs as did the city.  Allowing homebuilders to cover up more surface with impervious homes and paving will continue to make matters worse likely at cost to taxpayers and certainly to water quality. 

Action Requested: Delay your vote on amendments to the Storm Water Ordinance now scheduled for Nov. 21. Ask Public Works staff to call a facilitated meeting(s) with members of the development community and the environmental community to seek a solution that works for the environment and all water quality rate payers.  

Concerning the vote of whether to change the SOV regulation in the South Chickamauga Creek Basin from 1.6 inches back to 1.0 inch, you are faced with what many citizens believe is a critical decision. 

On the one hand, the Homebuilders Association has implied to you that their efficiency as home developers is imperiled if they are not allowed to build with less stringent regulations concerning the amount of rainwater that must be captured on a particular piece of ground in the South Chickamauga Creek Watershed area. They believe the current stormwater fee is too high.  

On the other hand, the South Chickamauga Creek Greenway Alliance and other residents of Chattanooga have said that this decision will make a significant impact on water quality, issues related to flooding, siltation, habitat, and pathogens. Making this change would mean the city would no longer comply with our water quality permit with the state.  

New and additional programs would need to be developed, such as stream restoration projects. At this point, no one is able to tell you how much reconstruction will be required and at what cost to all storm water rate payers in Chattanooga. With these competing points of view and the passionate discussions concerning both sides, you, our City Councilpersons, must make a wise and far-reaching decision. The original 1.6 inch decision was made in 2014 with development and environmental viewpoints represented at the table to consider all sides of this complex issue. This year the discussions did not include the South Chickamauga Greenway Alliance. Why not call for a new mediated meeting again with all sides involved? 

While I appreciate the open public forums the Stormwater Board and the City Council have held in an attempt to put all the issues on the table, these meetings have resulted in a debate rather than a “we-are-all-in-this-together-meeting,” and we must find the best answer for all of Chattanooga. I am not suggesting an easy meeting or set of meetings. This will be difficult.  An outside mediator will probably be required. But a clearer vision of what is being said on both sides needs to be presented in such a manner that nothing will be a surprise to you as a Council, to the Homebuilders Association, or to those of us who are residents. Whatever the ramifications for the future, we must be able to say: “These are all the reasons a final decision was made at this time.”

Franklin McCallie



Soddy Daisy Residents Fed Up With Trains Blocking Roads

Trains have always occasionally blocked roads in the northern part of Hamilton County. However, since the workforce reduction in the rail yard, the occurrences have increased exponentially. When the railroad cut the workforce, several employees mentioned that this would be a byproduct. Man....they weren’t kidding.  To compound the problem, the county has yet to add another ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Last You’d Suspect

Back when Bill Lenz launched Christ the Rock Community Church, the idea was to spread the gospel in Menasha, Wisc. but Bill and his brother Bob soon found they were dealing with people in trauma situations – drug and alcohol addiction, poverty, the homeless, and suicide prevention. As the church grew, they started an offshoot ministry called “Solid Rock” that deals with suicide ... (click for more)

Overflow Crowd Attends Latest Signal Mountain Meeting On Leaving County Schools

The December meeting of the Signal Mountain Town Council was for the most part devoted to giving citizens another chance to voice their opinions and ask questions about forming a new school district separate from Hamilton County. More people interested in the subject came than could be admitted to the council room because of fire capacity and the crowd overflowed into the lobby. ... (click for more)

Haslam Appoints Kyle Hedrick Circuit Court Judge

Governor Bill Haslam on Monday appointed Kyle E. Hedrick of Chattanooga as Circuit Court Judge for the 11th Judicial District.  He replaces Judge W. Neil Thomas III, who has retired. The 11th Judicial District serves Hamilton County.   Mr. Hedrick and attorney Glenna Ramer have practiced together since 1994 and formed the law firm Ramer & Hedrick in Chattanooga ... (click for more)

Vols' Pruitt Is A "Ball Coach" Who Won't Forget HIs Roots

KNOXVILLE -- He is still the guy that taught them how to play kickball and officiated their dodgeball games. He's still the guy that wore a Fort Payne Wildcats football T-shirt to class every day and carried them over his shoulder across the playground if they got hurt. Before he rose to prominence as a college football coach, Jeremy Pruitt was a PE teacher at Wills Valley ... (click for more)

UTC Women Fall To Virginia Tech 64-44

The Chattanooga Lady Mocs started off the current basketball season with three straight losses, including a 60-30 whipping at Green Bay on November 11. Things had gotten better since that time as the Lady Mocs came into Sunday afternoon’s home game with Virginia Tech on a six-game winning streak, but the train jumped off the track, the local girls had one of their poorest performances ... (click for more)