Protecting Family Homes On Signal Mountain

Saturday, June 23, 2018

The Signal Mountain Town Council will vote at their upcoming July 9 meeting on whether to approve a controversial rezoning application regarding property located at the northwestern corner of Albert Road and Taft Highway.  Prior to the rezoning request, Albert Road was the redline on Taft Highway past which commercial development within the town did not extend. This rezoning request, if approved, will break that redline.  

Before any council member votes in favor of the rezoning, I simply ask if they would or would not stand before the citizens at that July 9 meeting and say, “I cannot begin to tell you how much my neighbors and I have always dreamed of having a dumpster, a 50 car parking lot, and 12,000 square foot office building right next to our single family homes. I would love to have this development built on my street or in my neighborhood.”   

If unwilling to so unequivocally and graphically put their reputations on the line as to how they see this project fitting into a long-standing residential neighborhood, how can they see their way clear to imposing upon the Albert Road area residents a development they would not gladly wish upon themselves and their neighbors?  This is especially true when those residents seek only the continued protection and benefit of decades old rules governing their most important asset- their family home.

The son of the property owners (if I understood the speaker’s introduction correctly) who are seeking the rezoning said at a recent town meeting that before asking for the rezoning, the property owners tried in good faith to sell the house but could not do so, at the asking price of $900,000.  I understood that the explanation was proffered as something of a justification for the rezoning request- sort of a “what other alternative do we have” contention to my way of thinking. Left unsaid at that meeting, at least to my knowledge, was the appraised value of the subject property on the county assessor’s website.  If I looked it up correctly, and if you take the time to do so, I believe you will find that the property in question carries an assessed tax value of approximately $360,000. If that approximate value is correct, how many residential properties readily sell for 250 percent of their appraised tax value?  And more importantly, in any event, what justification would it provide for changing the rules upon which the neighborhood was built in the face of the adamant objections of the nearby homeowners?

I also think it important that council members supporting the rezoning explain, in public, why, as a community, we either need or want to create more commercial zoning given the number of existing commercial properties within the town that are up for sale or available for lease, but which now stand totally empty.  Drive by the empty Atlantic Capital Building on Taft Highway. Drive by the empty gas station/market adjacent thereto. Drive by the long empty Signal Mountain Cleaners building. Then look across the street at what seems to be a large empty office at the corner of Palisades and Taft. Drive by the closed restaurant on James or the former, but long empty, Taco Bell building on Taft. Look at the empty commercial/office space across the street from the Pruett’s shopping center.  Can council members supporting the rezoning explain why further commercial expansion into residential neighborhoods is needed?  No one wanted to make Rossville Boulevard, Dayton Pike, and Brainerd Road as ugly as they are.  But they are not unique.  And they certainly were not an accident. They need to be seen for what they are ---land use planning embarrassments, not models for our town.  

No limiting principles have been expressed that will separate this rezoning request from other subsequent rezoning requests.  Instead of explaining to citizens, who have spoken at a prior town meeting, as to why they are incorrect in likening the approval of this rezoning request as the first domino to fall, council members spoke about concerns as to what might happen in the unincorporated county near Corral Road if expanded commercial zoning in the town is not approved.  Our zoning rules need to be more than a speed track in a race to the bottom.

I apologize for the length of this letter, but hope it will stimulate others to ask questions and speak out.   

David R. Evans
Signal Mountain


 



A Successful East Ridge Bake Sale

Saturday's event at the Camp Jordan Pavilion was nothing more than extraordinary, if not history making.  Alongside the threatening eminent domain letters the citizens of East Ridge received, a Union was formed amongst the East Ridge Police Department.  Coming to City Council the night of April 26, I had only one thing I was focused on: eminent domain.  ... (click for more)

Remembering Barry Parker

The news came like a thunderclap, jolting and unexpected…followed by that painful silence awaiting a clash of lightning and the dreadfully long hours of solemn rain. “Did you hear that Barry passed away,” read the message from our mutual friend John Wilson. Not “Barry Parker,” but just “Barry.” John could have sent that message to hundreds of people and they would have instantly ... (click for more)

5 People Shot On Cowart Street Early Sunday Morning

Five people were shot on Cowart Street early Sunday morning.   At approximately 2:55 a.m., Chattanooga Police responded to the area of 1400 Cowart Street on reports of multiple people shot. The shooting was near Coyote Jack's where one person was killed and another injured in a shooting in December 2017.   Upon arrival, police found several ... (click for more)

Body Of Robert Townsend, 60, Found In Dumpster On Laura Street

The body of Robert Townsend, 60, was found on Friday in a dumpster on Laura Street.   At approximately  11:19 a.m. , Chattanooga Police were dispatched to a deceased party in the 2500 block of Laura Street. Upon arrival, officers located the body inside the bin.     Violent Crimes Bureau responded to the scene. The decedent was transported to the ... (click for more)

Dalton Swimmers Win CASL City Meet

Chances are really good that Dalton coach Jason Mezaros will sleep good Saturday night. No question he is dog tired after directing the Chattanooga Area Swim League’s annual Bill Caulkins City Meet, but he will probably sleep with a smile on his face after his Dolphins captured the team championship Saturday night at Fort Oglethorpe’s Arlene Crye Municipal Pool. The Dolphins ... (click for more)

Local Tennis: The City Championships are July 19-22

The annual City Tennis Championships will be held July 19-22 at Manker Patten Tennis Club   Open Division:  The event will include the open division in men’s and women’s singles, doubles and mixed with prize money at $1000 for men’s and women’s singles winners and $500 for the runners-up and $250 for the semifinalists. NTRP Doubles Pla y: Doubles play ... (click for more)