Monteagle Postpones Tap Fees and ADUs Vote

by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer

Advised by the Tennessee Association of Utility Districts (TAUD) the town was losing money because its tap fees were too low, the Monteagle City Council planned to vote on an ordinance increasing tap fees at the Sept. 26 meeting. Questions about the whether the ordinance might cause still more revenue loss postponed the vote. Additional questions arose about taps for Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU), postponing the expected vote on an ordinance allowing ADUs as well. The council approved one certificate of deposit investment and deferred a vote on a second CD due to possible revenue needs. The council also heard a report on codes enforcement action for violations at Rocky Top Truck Stop.

Alderman Nate Wilson pointed out by the proposed tap-fee ordinance, three-fourths inch taps would now be $300 cheaper outside the city limits, since the new ordinance did not have different fees for inside and outside the city limits, as is currently the case. Utility manager John Condra confirmed the number of taps installed inside and outside the city limits was “about equal.” Alderman Wilson said, that being the case, the tap fee increase would not offset the revenue loss from higher tap fees for customers outside the city limits. Wilson also argued, “to be fair” and in keeping with TAUD’s advice, the town should have a single commercial tap fee, based on an average like the residential fee, rather than a fee assigned according to the cost of each installation.

The council will revisit the tap fee ordinance at a special called meeting Tuesday, Oct. 18, at 4:30 p.m.

When the council took up the proposed ordinance allowing ADUs, planning commission member Janet Miller-Schmidt noted the ordinance left unresolved questions stemming from whether an ADU was charged commercial or residential water-use rates. By the proposed ordinance ADUs, dwellings smaller than the principal residence, can be detached to the primary residence or attached. City Recorder Debbie Taylor said, “If it’s rented its considered commercial.” The ordinance, however, did not stipulate ADUs needed a separate meter and tap, allowing for a different rate. The council postponed the vote to seek clarification.

The council voted to roll over a $1.2 million CD to a substantially higher yielding CD (3.5 percent) for 36 months. Alderman Wilson and Alderwoman Dorraine Parmley, however, both had reservation about also investing $677,000 in money market funds in a 36-month CD, given the need to refurbish both water tanks. Mayor Marilyn Campbell Rodman said the town had $2 million in the checking account, and TDEC stipulated the town had until 2025 to complete refurbishment of the first tank and begin work on the second tank. City engineer Travis Wilson initially estimated the total cost at $1.2 million, but he expected prices to increase as much as 30 percent. Rodman will investigate the rate on an 18-month CD. The council will revisit the CD investment at the Oct. 18 meeting, as well.

Codes enforcement officer Travis Lawyer said Rocky Top Truck Stop had been given 120 days to replace dead shrubbery and reverse the fence installed with the wrong side facing out. Removal of junked vehicles must begin in 30 days, Lawyer said. Rodman noted if the owner failed to comply, city court would take up the violations.

Alderwoman Jessica Favaloro announced Trunk or Treat Thursday, Oct. 27, at Monteagle Elementary School, from 5-8 p.m., with “treats” distributed both inside and in the parking lot. Proceeds from a hotdog supper at 6 p.m. will fund a year-end celebration.

A resident asked why residents not hooked up to city sewer were charged for sewer service. Alderman Wilson explained residents were charged if sewer service was available. Rodman noted the resident bore the cost of connecting to city sewer. Asked about expanding sewer service, Rodman said, “That’s something that could be planned out, once we repair what needs to be repaired.” Engineer Wilson said the town had received an ARC grant for sewer work and, also, hoped to receive American Recovery Plan money for sewer rehabilitation.

AngelFest on Oct. 7

The 11th annual AngelFest will be at 4:30 p.m., Friday, Oct. 7, in Angel Park, downtown Sewanee. There will be plenty of food and refreshments available for purchase, and activities for the children. University Avenue will be closed to traffic to ensure everyone’s safety.

At 6:30 p.m., Jimmy Hall, the famous musician from the band Wet Willy, will take the stage. His unique brand of R&B-infused rock and roll and onstage swagger propelled the group’s signature song “Keep on Smilin’” to the Top 10 on the Billboard singles chart in 1974.

Over the years, Jimmy has been involved in other musical endeavors including The Nighthawks; Betts, Hall Leavell, and Trucks; and the Gregg Allman Band, and he has appeared as a featured guest artist with multiple groups.

Reverse Raffle tickets will also be on sale at this year’s AngelFest. Tickets will be on sale for $100 each. The grand prize will be awarded during the annual Christmas Tree Lighting festivities of up to $5,000 (depending on total ticket sales). The raffle proceeds will be going to Housing Sewanee and Sewanee Angel Park. Tickets will be on sale up to the drawing. Tickets can be bought at several of the local Sewanee merchants and on the web at

This is event is free to the community and is sponsored by the Sewanee Business Alliance and the AngelFest sponsors.

Grundy County Prevails in Sand Plant Lawsuit

by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer

At a Sept. 19 Chancery Court hearing before Judge Melissa Willis, Tinsley Asphalt sought a summary judgement to allow them to operate a sand plant in violation of the Grundy County Powers Act resolution, which gives the county the authority to regulate nuisance activities. Tinsley attorney Clifton Miller argued Grundy County, which has no zoning, could not use the Powers Act to regulate land use. Willis delivered her ruling Sept. 26. “The judge ruled in our favor,” said Grundy County Mayor Michael Brady. “They [Tinsley Asphalt] would have to be in compliance with the resolution we have in place.”

Asked if the ruling included a stop work order, Brady said, “Yes. She is agreeing with the county powers act as it is stands.” Advised that neighbors reported activity at the site on Sept. 27 and Sept. 28, Brady said, “They are not supposed to be operating. If they are, I’ll take care of that.” Grundy County’s permit for operating a sand plant restricts sand and gravel extraction and topsoil removal and prohibits operating a sand and gravel quarry within 5,000 feet of a residence. The construction site, located off Clouse Hill Road, borders Deerlick Falls Retreat, Highland Bluff and Timberwood Trace residential communities. Tinsley Asphalt has no permit [See Messenger, Feb. 11, 2022]

In her opening and closing statements at the hearing, Judge Willis said, “This is a case of first impression, meaning there is not another one like it.” Willis noted she expected an appeal, regardless of her ruling. [See Messenger, Sept. 23, 2022]

“I look for an appeal,” Brady said. “We stand ready for that challenge, as well.”

“Every sand plant, every rock quarry company will be looking at this, because it will mean they will be at the discretion of the county government rather than zoning which does not work county wide,” Brady stressed. “If it goes to the appellate court, it will be a landmark decision.”

Providing historical perspective on the County Powers Act, Brady said in 2012 as a county commissioner, he sought the advice of county attorney Bill Reider on how to curtail pain management clinics locating in Grundy County. “We already had a huge problem with pills,” Brady said. Reider recommended zoning. Searching for alternative solutions, Brady came across the County Powers Act authorized by the Tennessee General Assembly in 2002 and 2003. Reider said he believed the powers act would work, according to Brady, but acknowledged it had not been used.

A few other counties have passed powers act resolutions, Brady said, but “it’s relatively unknown.” The powers act originated in response to a case involving a child with asthma impacted by a neighbor’s trash burning. “The whole intent of this law was to protect people’s homes,” Brady insisted.

“Zoning will not work in the state of Tennessee in rural counties,” Brady said. “The only alternative was a different route. This will put a lot of power into the counties to be able to say what happens there.”

Tinsley Asphalt had not returned the Messenger’s request for a comment at the time of publication.

Marilyn Campbell Rodman: Passing the Baton to the Future

by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer

Editor’s Note: This is the fourth in a series of interviews with some of the local candidates running for office. Federal & State General Elections, and Muncipal Election voting is Nov. 8.

Mayoral candidate Marilyn Campbell Rodman will bring six years of experience to the office of mayor if reelected, two years with the present administration and four prior years of service, 2012-2016. Rodman has lived in Monteagle 30 years. In addition to her terms as mayor, Rodman served two years on the council as an alderperson and has 28-years experience as a businesswoman, as the publisher and editor of the Cumberland View newspaper.

“Every day brings opportunities and challenges,” Rodman said. During her first tenure as mayor, she administered $4.5 million in grant money. The town grew 33 percent, implemented its first electrical vehicle charging site, brought the sewer plant online, and contributed $65,000 toward completion of the five-miles of the Mountain Goat Trail between Sewanee and Monteagle. The town also drafted a Monteagle 2020 plan supported by a $285,000 grant, with a small 5 percent match, that would have expanded sidewalks and lighting, but the grant and plan were both abandoned by the subsequent administration.

During Rodman’s present term she administered $500,000 ($.5 million) in grant money. The town conducted water and sewer capacity studies and plans additional studies this fall to determine inflow and infiltration of stormwater into the sanitary sewer and aid in identifying grants to address the problem. The town also instituted GIS mapping of streets, storm water drains, and water and sewer lines to boost the town’s eligibility for American Recovery Plan grant money. Twenty new businesses came to town and two new motel franchises will open. The town raised $110,000 for purchase of a fire truck, hired a full-time fire chief, and now has seven police officers.

Looking to the immediate future, Monteagle is working with the Municipal Technical Advisory Service (MTAS) on a flood control ordinance for both commercial and residential property. The 3.5 inches of rainfall at the end of July was “unusual,” Rodman said, and impacted several areas of town in addition to the RBT/Petro truck stop site bordering Sampley Street and Dixie Lee Avenue.

Rodman favors considering review of building permits not acted on in a year. “Things change in a year,” she observed, although noting inability to acquire materials could cause unavoidable delays.

Asked about stormwater treatment at the RBT/Petro project, Rodman said, according to building inspector Earl Geary, the building permit for the building had been approved, but not the permit for the parking lot, garages, and other components of the site. Permitting would require architectural drawings by a structural engineer and would necessitate including both detention pond and oil/water separators for stormwater treatment to satisfy EPA and TDEC regulations.

Rodman pointed out the “Petro project was a reality before this council was elected.” The property sold as zoned commercial, and the planning commission negotiated with the developers on the site plan. When confronted with the zoning map problem, her administration consulted with the city attorney, insurance company, and MTAS. “We did as we were advised,” Rodman said, “and made decisions based on what we were handed.”

Plans call for hiring an architect to help craft a Monteagle 2035 land-use plan to guide future growth. Rodman also anticipates working with TDOT to bring the Mountain Goat Trail across the new bridge planned for I-24 Exit 134 and will encourage a traffic study to determine if a traffic light is needed.

“I’m asking not just for myself, but for my team [of alderpersons] to be brought back,” Rodman insisted. “There are a lot of good things we need to finish. We’ll have a plan we can hand over to the next generation.”

Friends of South Cumberland to Support Both Savage Gulf and South Cumberland State Parks

Friends of South Cumberland State Park, Inc., (FSC) has announced that it will continue to support both South Cumberland State Park and the newly-formed Savage Gulf State Park. Savage Gulf had been part of South Cumberland State Park prior to the recent announcement of its designation as a new and separate Tennessee State Park.

FSC has served for nearly 30 years as the official support organization for South Cumberland State Park. “We are proud to continue to serve as the official support organization for over 31,000 acres of breathtaking Tennessee wilderness,” said FSC President Trae Moore. “Our leadership and strong volunteer base have helped conserve land, build and maintain trails, and support our Park Rangers in the areas comprising both of these spectacular Tennessee State Parks. Going forward, we intend to continue that service to both parks.”

“We have had a longstanding working relationship with our Park Managers and Rangers,” noted Moore. “We’re currently involved in major trail improvements in the Greeter Falls area of the new park.” He noted that FSC also has projects underway in the original portion of South Cumberland State Park, which includes the Fiery Gizzard and Lost Cove areas of Grundy, Marion and Franklin Counties. In that area, Moore says FSC will also continue to work closely with South Cumberland State Park Manager George Shinn and his team on improving trail conditions, creating new backcountry campgrounds and offering educational programs to elementary school students from across the region. FSC will also continue to offer the annual Trails and Trilliums spring wildflower festival, with proceeds benefiting both State Parks.

“We feel it is important for everyone to know that the Friends of South Cumberland State Parks, Inc., will continue to operate as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in support of both parks,” Moore explained. “Now, more than ever, we value the financial and volunteer support of our stakeholders, in order to meet the urgent needs and priorities of both of these spectacular State Parks,” Moore said.

Donations in support of FSC’s work for both Savage Gulf and South Cumberland State Parks can be made online at To learn more about FSC and its work, and to volunteer, visit the “What We Do” page of the FSC website.

Lee, Salyers Announce the Creation of Savage Gulf State Park

Gov. Bill Lee and Commissioner David Salyers of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) announced on Sept. 22, the creation of Savage Gulf State Park in Grundy and Sequatchie counties, a boost for recreation in the region, bringing the total of Tennessee’s state parks to 57.

The park, featuring one of Tennessee’s most scenic areas, includes the nearly 19,000-acre Savage Gulf State Natural Area, which is also a National Natural Landmark. The site contains old-growth forest and remarkable vistas, including waterfalls and the Great Stone Door, an impressive cliff line overlooking Savage Gulf that gets its name from a top-to-bottom crack in the cliff, resembling a door left slightly ajar.

The new park includes land formerly managed as part of South Cumberland State Park. South Cumberland had become too large to manage effectively as a single park, and the land’s unique characteristics warrant status as a stand-alone park.

“This a special day for Tennessee State Parks,” Lee said. “It’s one of the most spectacular sites in our state, and the new park will serve Tennesseans for many years to come. Tennessee State Parks are recognized as one of the best state parks systems in the country, and this park adds to that special standing.”

“Savage Gulf State Park will be a unique Tennessee attraction,” Salyers said. “We want all Tennesseans to enjoy its natural beauty and recreation opportunities, and we are grateful to the governor and the Tennessee General Assembly for their leadership in making this happen.”

The Tennessee General Assembly provided $30,380,000 for future improvements, including a visitors center, RV campground, and infrastructure to support new facilities. For now, current access points remain as is.

“I am grateful to see yet another opportunity emerge to showcase our state’s majestic natural beauty,” said Lt. Gov. Randy McNally, R-Oak Ridge. “This new state park will be a great resource for Tennesseans as well as an attraction drawing in visitors from across the country to our state. I appreciate the vision of Governor Lee, Commissioner Salyers and all those whose work led to this day.”

“Tennessee’s incredible state park system is critical to our sustained economic success,” said Speaker of the House Cameron Sexton, R-Crossville. “Thanks to Gov. Lee, Commissioner Salyers, Lt. Gov. McNally, the General Assembly, and all who have partnered on the Savage Gulf State Park project. This new resource will not only enhance the entire system, but it will also continue driving Tennessee tourism while improving the quality of life for both citizens and our many visitors.”

“Grundy County is thrilled that our beautiful state parks will be enjoyed by visitors for years to come,” said Grundy County Mayor Michael Brady. “The park will be unique and bring to the forefront the beauty of the area. We are extremely grateful and appreciative to Governor Bill Lee, Commissioner Salyers, and the Tennessee General Assembly for their commitment to our majestic state parks. The Savage Gulf State Park will mean so much to Grundy County and Tennessee on so many levels. This is a great day for Grundy County!”

“The Friends of South Cumberland State Park has had a long and valuable relationship with Tennessee State Parks,” said Trae Moore, president of the Friends of South Cumberland support group. “We have been able to assist the state in protecting South Cumberland State Park and grow it into the natural treasure that it is today, and we look forward to the creation of the new Savage Gulf State Park and expanding access for Tennesseans and visitors alike.”

While most of Savage Gulf will continue to be maintained as a designated state natural area, the park will include the addition of a 744-acre developable area comprised of the former Shady Valley nursery and two recently acquired tracts. Key partners in the creation of the park include the Friends of South Cumberland, the State Lands Acquisition Fund, and the Tennessee Department of Transportation.

tnAchieves Needs 4,500 Volunteer Mentors

With just one month until the Oct. 21, 2022 deadline, tnAchieves needs 4,500 additional volunteer mentors to serve the TN Promise Class of 2023. 24 mentors are still needed in Franklin County.

While tnAchieves is more than halfway to its goal of recruiting 9,000 mentors for 2023, there remains a significant need for volunteer mentors. As tnAchieves works to reverse negative college-enrollment trends seen during the pandemic by introducing innovative programs to better serve students, there is no more exciting time to volunteer as a tnAchieves mentor.

Ultimately, tnAchieves mentors help students realize their full potential as a college student. Many TN Promise students will be the first in their family to go to college, and the encouragement a mentor provides can be the push a student needs to achieve college success! “I wouldn’t have gotten this far without a mentor behind me through this journey!” says Shychuria, a tnAchieves college graduate. “They taught me that no matter where you come from, it’s about where you are going! It’s important to chase your dreams!”

tnAchieves mentors not only help students to achieve their college-going goals and contribute to growing their community’s workforce. “Attending college and using TN Promise allowed me to gain a solid academic foundation. It also allowed me to stay home and remain connected with family, friends and my community,” said Sara, a tnAchieves college graduate. “Now that I have graduated, I hope to return back to my hometown to start my career and serve my community!”

tnAchieves mentors help to ensure individual student success, but also the success of their communities long term!

By giving one hour per month, tnAchieves mentors provide critical support and encouragement for high school seniors in their community. All volunteers are provided training as well as ongoing support from the tnAchieves team. Those interested in applying or learning more can visit;.

tnAchieves is a privately funded scholarship and mentoring program that seeks to provide an opportunity for every Tennessee student to earn a post‐secondary degree. If you have questions about the tnAchieves mentoring program, please contact Tyler Ford at (309) 945-3446 or <>.

University Hunting Program

The University of the South opens portions of the Domain to hunting every year. The hunt began in 2000 in response to community concern over increasing deer population numbers and their impacts on the community and forest understory.

During the last 22 years, more than 2,100 animals have been safely harvested in and around central campus. The population of deer in Sewanee peaked in 2010 at 145 deer per square mile, approximately six times the herd density recommended by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. At the time, our ratio of does to bucks was in excess of 9 to 1, which creates an incredibly high annual reproductive rate. This ratio is the metric we track most closely to ensure that our population remains in check. In 2021 our doe to buck ratio is 2 to 1 in hunted areas, but remains many times that in areas that are not hunted.

The goals of the hunt are to reduce the total density of white-tailed deer on the Domain to approximately 25 deer per square mile, with a balanced sex ratio of one buck per doe. In order to better achieve these goals, the university hunt has harvest restrictions and quotas that are more stringent than those issued by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency for our area. To review the specific rules for the hunt see the 2022 hunt rules;. For details on why and how deer are managed on the domain, see the white-tailed deer management plan 2016;.

Beginning on Sept. 24, the regular University archery season will begin. This invitation-only hunt is generally open to all approved University faculty and staff, as well as their direct relatives (spouses, adult children, and parents). The hunt is also open to approved students. All participants must complete the Tennessee Bowhunter Safety Course (or other state equivalent) and in a TWRA Bowhunter Safety Field day, Hunters must also undergo a background check by the Sewanee Police Department, and participate in all mandatory meetings. All hunters are required to possess valid TN type 94 or sportsman’s license and follow all TWRA rules and regulations at all times. For information on participating in the hunt, email Domain Management <>.

Hongo to Receive Aiken Taylor Award

Every year since 1987, the Sewanee Review has honored a distinguished poet in the maturity of their career with the Aiken Taylor Award in Modern American Poetry. This year we are recognizing Garrett Hongo. Hongo is the author of three collections of poetry, including “Yellow Light, The River of Heaven,” which received the Lamont Poetry Prize and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, and “Coral Road: Poems.” Hongo is also the author of “Volcano: a Memoir of Hawai‘i,” “The Mirror Diary,” and his most recent book is “The Perfect Sound: A Memoir in Stereo.”

The celebration will take place on Oct. 11 and Oct. 12. Acting Vice-Chancellor Berner and Sewanee Review editor Adam Ross will present Hongo with the award at 5 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 12, in Convocation Hall, after which Hongo will read from his body of work.

On Tuesday, Oct. 11, at 4:30 p.m., Christopher Spaide will lecture on Hongo’s poetry in Guerry Auditorium. Spaide, a Junior Fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows, has written widely on music, comics, and poetry, and his work appears in the Boston Globe, The Wallace Stevens Journal, Contemporary Literature, Ploughshares, Poetry, and the Sewanee Review. He was recently named a 2022-2023 Fellow at the James Merrill House.

A Crucifix of Color

The Chapel of the Apostles is about to get a new crucifix. Creator of the crucifix, New York artist Laura James, will be on campus for the formal installation of the crucifix in the Chapel of the Apostles on Tuesday, Sept. 27. Prior to the dedication, James will present an Artist Talk about the creation of the crucifix. The Artist Talk will begin at 4 p.m. and will be in the Chapel of the Apostles. The dedication service will immediately follow, beginning at 5:10 p.m. The Artist Talk is free and open to the public. All are welcome and encouraged to attend. The Chapel of the Apostles is located at 335 Tennessee Ave., Sewanee.

Nonfood Supply Drive to Benefit the CAC

The Sewanee Civic Association is inviting individuals, local groups and businesses to help collect donations of nonfood items for the Community Action Committee (CAC). This collection will augment the services provided by the CAC food pantry. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits cannot be used to purchase any nonfood items, which includes pet food; cleaning supplies; paper products; household supplies; detergent; menstrual products; diapers; or other personal care items.

This is where you can help. Collect nonfood items and then deliver from 1–3 p.m., Friday, Oct. 14, to the CAC at 216 University Ave., Sewanee. Individuals may also take their nonfood donations between Oct. 3–13 to donation bins located around the University campus, and at Regions Bank, the Sewanee Utility District office, and the Sewanee Mountain Messenger office. The Interact Club at St. Andrew’s-Sewanee will also be gathering nonfood donations in Simmonds Hall.

For those who wish to make monetary donations, cash or checks are accepted from Oct. 3–13 at Blue Chair Bakery and Tavern, Shenanigans and Taylor’s Mercantile. Please make checks payable to the CAC. You may also take donations any time to the CAC, Monday through Friday, 9–11 a.m.

There is also an Amazon Wish List from the Sewanee Community Chest for those who want to order nonfood items. These will be delivered to the CAC. The Amazon link is The address will be listed as Kerstin Beavers, Sewanee Community Chest, Sewanee, TN 37375.

The CAC will oversee the distribution of the donations to those in need. The CAC is an outreach ministry of the Parish of St. Mark and St. Paul, with generous support from the Sewanee Community Chest, other organizations and individuals across the Mountain. For more than 48 years, the CAC has provided food, financial assistance, and educational support for persons in the greater Sewanee community.

This is part of the Sewanee Civic Association Treasures for the Chest initiative, a campaign to help promote community-wide service of giving time, support and donations. Volunteers are needed. To volunteer contact <>. The event is sponsored by the Community Action Committee, the Office of Civic Engagement, the Sewanee Civic Association, and the Sewanee Community Chest.

SUD Applies for $1.32 Million in Grant Money

by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer

At the Sept. 20 meeting of the Sewanee Utility District Board of Commissioners, SUD manager Ben Beavers and President Charlie Smith reported on attending a recent Franklin County Commission meeting where they learned the county received clarification on American Recovery Plan (ARP) funding. SUD requested $1.32 million, with $234,000 coming from Franklin County as a match and $1,412,000 coming from ARP funds administered by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC).

There was much uncertainty about the initial announcement of $4.8 million in ARP funding available to Franklin County. “The grant money is for rural utilities,” Smith said. “There are only three in the county, and we are one of them.” The money will be divided proportional to number of customers served, with Winchester Springs receiving the largest amount, followed by SUD, then Belvidere.

Beavers said TDEC and the Tennessee Association of Utility Districts devised a metric to measure utilities’ deficiencies. “The money must be spent on deficient areas,” Beavers said. Most utilities deficiencies fell in the areas of asset management, unaccounted for water loss, and inflow and infiltration (I&I). SUD’s only deficiency was 61 percent I&I (i.e., storm water entering the sanitary sewer system which increases the cost of wastewater treatment.) SUD has four years to spend the grant money. SUD must contribute a match of $234,000. Once SUD reduces I&I below 50 percent, the remaining grant money will be available for other projects such as replacement of lead fittings in the drinking water system.

Beavers also brought to the board’s attention the need for an “inactive meter” policy. SUD has 30-40 inactive meters, Beavers said. Meters became inactive when a house burned, was torn down, the residents died, or the residents moved away. Sometimes the property owners notified SUD not to read the meter, as no one lived in the residence, in which case SUD turned the meter off. In a few instances, meters declared inactive and not being read had been turned back on by someone and showed usage when the property sold. The other problem noted by Beavers was SUD losing track of the inactive meters since meters showing no use eventually dropped off the system’s database.

“If there is a meter, they [the customers] need to pay a minimum bill of $13,” Beavers suggested. He also proposed if the customer opted to have the meter removed rather than paying the minimum bill fee, the customer would be assessed a tap fee for a new meter should they choose to reinstate service.

“Having a meter is a benefit if they sell the property,” commissioner Ronnie Hoosier said.

Smith pointed out electric utilities charged a minimum bill.

Beavers will determine the exact number of inactive meters. The board will take up the policy at the October meeting.

Reporting on the project to narrow Highway 41A, Beavers said the contractor charged SUD an additional $6,000 for manholes purchased and never installed. When the contractor did the change order revising the project design, the manholes were not needed, Beavers explained. SUD will do manhole rehabilitation in conjunction with addressing I&I and plans to use the manholes then.

The Tennessee Department of Transportation has decided not to close out the project until the end of the year, Beavers said. SUD will not know its final cost until then, delaying its request to the University for help paying for the water and sewer line relocation necessitated by the project.

Monteagle Planning Hears Laurel Lake Pollution Presentation

by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer

At the Sept. 15 Monteagle Planning Commission meeting, Monteagle resident and structural engineer Jim Waller gave a 15-minute presentation documenting a violation of city ordinance regulating storm water runoff and pollution of Laurel Lake, Monteagle’s drinking water supply.

Waller, who designed the drainage system for the Miami airport, pointed to a February 2022 TDEC (Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation) Notice of Violation faulting the RBT/Petro developers for inadequate erosion prevention, inadequate sediment control, and discharging sediment into the waters of the state. Waller showed photos and video of the RBT-site storm water collection pond full above the pipe transferring the water to the city’s storm water drains, water overflowing the site’s silt barriers flooding the streets, and tracing the path of the mud and silt laden water travelling to Hidden Creek and into Laurel Lake. “What’s coming with the truck plaza,” Waller said, “is 115 truck parking slots. This is going to provide a different source of pollution travelling the same path. There are 16 fueling stations and 10 acres of impervious pavement.” The site could shed 2 million gallons of water in a 24-hour rainstorm, according to Waller. “We must assume there will be oil and fuel spills that wash into the water supply,” Waller insisted. “The RBT site plan [approved by the planning commission] did not have any oil separators at all.” He cited a Monteagle ordinance which states, “All car washes, truck washes, garages, service stations, car and truck maintenance facilities, fabricators, utility equipment shops, and other facilities that have sources of sand, soil, and oil shall install effective traps, interceptors, and oil/water separators.”

Waller reached the end of his 15-minute time allotment without finishing his presentation and was not allowed to continue. Asked if the commission could discuss the information presented, Planning Commission Chair Iva Michelle Russell said, “We’re not allowed to discuss it because [the lawsuit against the town] is in appeal.” [See Messenger Aug. 5, 2022]

Resident Mary Beth Best, paraphrasing, cited an email from TDEC official Jennifer Innes stating, “flooding and drainage issues are for the city of Monteagle to address.”

Monteagle Alderman Nate Wilson proposed the town amend the ordinance governing building permit renewal. Currently, building permits expire after six months and can be renewed. Wilson recommended the ordinance be amended to “allow one sixth month extension, and after that, if no reasonable progress had been made in one year, the project goes back to the planning commission for further site plan approval.” Justifying the need for the ordinance, Wilson said, “If there’s no activity after a year, there’s time for the town to have different ordinances, and in this particular instance, we have MTAS working on a storm water ordinance for Monteagle … the town could ask for a new building permit.” Mayor Marilyn Campbell Rodman said, according to building codes inspector Earl Geary, the RBT/Petro building permit had been renewed. The commission will take up the proposed amendment at the Oct. 4 meeting.

In other business, the commission approved two ordinance amendments and recommended forwarding them to the council for approval: rezoning a tract on Catherine Avenue from Residential 1 to Commercial 2 and adopting the Accessory Dwelling Units provisions drafted at the Aug. 29 workshop.

Annual Peace Pole Ceremony on Sept. 29

Sewanee Elementary School invites the community to join them for their annual Peace Pole ceremony at 8 a.m., Thursday, Sept. 29. The event is an opportunity for the school to learn how to say the phrase, “May Peace Prevail On Earth,” in a different language each year and for students to reflect on how they can help make their school, their homes, and their lives more peaceful. The ceremony is generally held between the International Day of Peace and United Nations Day. Languages recently added include Chinese, Romanian, and sign language. This year the school will add the phrase in Ukrainian.

During the assembly, the fourth-grade students will be sharing some of what they learned about Ukrainian culture and will teach the school community how to say May Peace Prevail on Earth in Ukrainian. The fifth graders will be performing a musical selection. Members of the community at large are invited to attend. Weather permitting, the ceremony will be held outside. Visitors to the school must sign in at the office when they enter the building.

Community Council: Housing, Senior Living, Grants, Election

by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer

At the Sept. 12 meeting, the Sewanee Community Council heard updates on initiatives to address Sewanee’s housing shortage and senior living needs. The council approved a $5,000 grant for repair and rehabilitation of the St. Mark’s Community Center. Six seats on the council come open for election this fall, and election officer John Solomon provided information on how to become a candidate.

Reporting on housing needs, University Vice President for Economic Development and Community Relations David Shipps said Sewanee Village Ventures was “advancing on construction of five to seven single family homes on vacant leasehold not taken by employees in the lottery.” Superintendent of Leases Sallie Green confirmed all employees who wanted a leasehold received one, with 10 lots spoken for. The lots can only be transferred to permanent residents, Green said. No more lots would be released until all the available lots had been assigned. Shipps said the homes constructed by SVV would be “as affordable as possible,” although acknowledging, “Affordability can be defined 100 different ways.”

Shipps announced the formation of two housing-focused working groups. Shipps will head a group looking at what housing policies and programs best serve the University’s goal of attracting and retaining employees. “Other Universities do creative things to provide an onramp to housing,” Shipps said, “And it’s not just university housing.” He speculated there might be a “mismatch” between new employees and how many wanted to own single-family homes. “Interest in home ownership varies,” Shipps said. The council elected Pam Byerly to serve as the working-group’s council representative.

Acting Provost Scott Wilson will chair a group tasked with addressing policy questions about who has access to University rental housing and questions about demand—the number of units needed, the type of housing, and for how long. Wilson said a survey was underway “to get a handle on demand.” He observed some employees wanted to live in rental housing “quite a while” beyond the current three-year limit. Non-university rentals “might relieve the burden on the University.”

Asked about renovation of University rental housing, Wilson said $150,000, annually, was allocated for that purpose in 2018. The pandemic and the difficulty of renovating occupied rentals has delayed progress. Plans call for renovations this coming year.

Providing an update on senior living initiatives, Solomon, who serves on the Arcadia board as well as the council, said a research firm would conduct a survey to gather information to guide design of Arcadia, the proposed Sewanee senior living facility. Area residents will be asked about location, price, and service preferences. In another initiative, the Arcadia board has partnered with Folks at Home to introduce LiveWell by Blakeford in the Sewanee community. The lifetime-care membership program offers transportation, home care, and other services for those choosing to age at home. Blakeford, which also operates a live-in facility in Nashville, recently hired a registered nurse to serve the Sewanee area.

June Weber, Sewanee Community Funding Project chair, said the Roberson Project prepared a detailed grant application requesting the funds to repair St. Mark’s Community Center. The application noted $7,000 total was needed, but the Center would seek donations from other sources, as well, and also plans to establish a fund to address future maintenance needs.

The Funding Project program has $2,643 remaining for community projects. Visit the Lease Office website for details about applying. The amount of available funds increases by $10,000 annually. Weber welcomes new Funding Project committee members, from both the council and community. Two council members serving on the committee will rotate off when their terms end in December.

Reporting on the council election, Solomon said one seat from each of the four districts is open for election and two at large seats. Election petitions are available at the lease office and must be returned by Oct. 14. Early voting is Oct. 19-Nov. 3 at the lease office; regular voting is election day, Nov. 8, at Sewanee Elementary School. All persons residing in the 37375 zip code for at least two years and registered to vote in Franklin or Marion County are eligible to serve on the council. Council members currently serving a full four-year term cannot seek reelection.

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