Monteagle Council Requests Planning Commission to Consider Rezoning Requests

by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer

At the Jan. 25 Zoom format meeting, the Monteagle City Council approved on second reading a new zoning map and new comprehensive zoning ordinances. Adopting the new map, based on the 2016 map, resulted in several properties not having the requisite zoning, including a portion of the proposed RBT Enterprises travel center.

In discussion prior to approval of the comprehensive ordinances, Monteagle resident Will Foehring asked the council to consider providing “for conditional use versus permitted use” to give the council and planning commission more authority. Foehring pointed out the 2016 comprehensive ordinances addressing C-3 commercial zoning stipulated conditional use which “allows a determination to protect the publics health safety and welfare.”

City attorney Sam Elliott recommended consulting the town planner on adoption of a “conditional uses” clause.

Resident William Best took issue with the accuracy of the 2016 map. “It’s not good,” Best said. “There are changes that need to be made to that map…There are some admitted errors in that map, as well.”

“We’re not admitting to any errors on the 2016 map,” said Mayor Marilyn Campbell Rodman. “Because of the codification consultants through MTAS is the reason we chose to go back to 2016. That was a map we know was good. We found 34 errors [since 2016], plus four properties we’re going to have to address individually, three properties plus the RBT that have been done incorrectly.”

“If we’re adopting a new map,” Best said, “I would like the council to take into consideration the preservation of the character of the existing development…The houses are already here, the homes are here.”

The council passed a resolution asking the planning commission to proceed with rezoning two properties on the new map. Alderman Nate Wilson explained the council previously changed the property of a collision repair business from residential to commercial, but adequate public hearing notice was not given. Elliott said the other property owners, RBT Enterprises, had already applied for rezoning to bring the disputed residential tract into compliance with commercial zoning requirements for the travel center.

Following the Feb. 2 meeting where the planning commission would take up the two requests, a public hearing with two weeks noticed would need to be scheduled, Elliott stressed.

Rodman said, in keeping with the new comprehensive zoning ordinances, courtesy letters would be sent to adjacent property owners and signage posted on the properties proposed for rezoning.

Addressing a chat question, Elliott replied the planning commission would not take up the travel center site plan until the April 6 meeting.

In regular business, the council approved a resolution to apply for a Community Development Block Grant to remedy inflow and infiltration into the sewer system. City engineer Travis Wilson said the city was also applying for an ARC (Appalachian Regional Commission) grant for the same purpose. Asked if the town had adequate capacity for the travel center project, Wilson said any new development would use industry standards to determine if the capacity was sufficient to allow for connection to the system.

The council also approved an ordinance calling for establishing an updated occupational health safety program and a resolution to pursue applying for a Fire Prevention Safety grant.

In response to a request from Mountain Goat Trail Alliance Executive director Patrick Dean, the council approved a letter of support for an $80,000 grant project extending the trail from Main Street to North Scenic Road paralleling Dubose Street. The nonprofit Growing Roots will partner with the MGTA in a $3,500 project to create a Native Plant Garden along the new section.

The council appointed Alvin Powell to serve as alderman, replacing Jessica Blalock, who resigned. Powell previously served more than 6 years as alderman.

Rodman announced volunteers will manage the youth baseball program. A link to register will be posted on the city Facebook page. The booster club will run the concession stand.

To facilitate communication and conveying information, the council plans to vote on a plan for updating and maintaining the city website at the next meeting, Feb. 22.