At its June meeting, the Signal Mountain Town Council authorized City Manager Boyd Veal to purchase new playground equipment in the amount not to exceed $35,000 for the new playground that will be built on Timberlinks Drive. Veal said this playground is a budgeted expense and will replace one that was removed because of age and safety concerns. Construction will be in stages, and plans are for expansion next year. The town bought the Playcore equipment through a purchasing cooperative with the State of Tennessee, getting a good deal.
The council addressed a new rezoning issue. Developers previously made a request to the planning commission for rezoning property at 1161 Ridgeway Dr. from Low to High Density Residential to build two duplexes. The Planning Commission’s recommendation stated that the property is too small to support two buildings, and it recommended the council change the zoning to Medium Density Residential with conditions. These conditions include allowing only one building containing two units, each with two bedrooms, not five bedrooms as applied for. Another condition from the Planning Commission is that the building must connect to the public sewer. Since that meeting, it was discovered that the closest sewer connection is too far away to be accessible.
With two substantial changes since the recommendation was sent to the council, Phil Noblett, town attorney, advised that the request be sent back to the Planning Commission for review. A public hearing and first vote about this property will take place at the July 9 council meeting. The second and final vote will be at the council’s July work session.
The council heard updates on multiple infrastructure projects that are in progress within the town. Mayor Chris Howley said he and the city manager attended two negotiation sessions with each of the two contenders for buying the town’s water system, Tennessee American Water and Walden’s Ridge Utility. A third meeting is scheduled, after which the agreements will be shared with the town council prior to the June work session. Proposals from both companies will be sent to the planning commission for a recommendation.
A contract with the company renovating the Mountain Arts Community Center has been received and is being reviewed by Mr. Noblett. Work should begin several weeks after the agreement is approved, and completion is expected around late October. Councilman Dan Landrum informed the council that another $1,000 was raised with a recent coffee house concert. The money will go toward putting sprinklers in the back of the building.
The town will receive federal money for repaving James Boulevard from River Point Road to Signal Point Road and is responsible for 20 percent of the cost. Approval has been received from TDOT, said Public Works Director Loretta Hopper, and, hopefully, work will begin this summer.
Issues that delayed the replacement of the Shoal Creek Bridge have been resolved, and the project will go out to bid on July 12. Ms. Hopper met with engineers about a new section of sidewalks that will be built and received revised plans in the attempt to avoid construction easements in historic locations. Work might not begin on this project until late next summer.
The council approved amending the 2017-2018 budget, which made adjustments that will shift funds because of changes in expenses that occurred during the year. The first reading and vote to accept the 2018-2019 budget was at the May 14 council meeting. The second and final vote scheduled for the June council meeting was postponed until the first regular meeting in July. The town will operate under a continuation budget after the 2018 budget expires. A public hearing on the budget will take place on the same night, before the vote.
The next council agenda/work session is scheduled for June 29. The next regular council meeting will be July 9.