Monteagle: Stormwater, Police Recognition, Grants, Zoning
by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer
At the Sept. 27 meeting, the Monteagle Council addressed two stormwater issues: American Recovery Plan funding for stormwater control and stormwater pollution entering Laurel Lake from the Petro project site during a recent heavy rainfall event. In a busy meeting, the council took time out from regular business to recognize police officer Chad Locke for service above and beyond the call of duty.
Updating the council on grant requests for sewer system remediation, city engineer Travis Wilson said he expected the city would receive $1.3 million in Appalachian Regional Commission and Community Development Block Grant funding. Mayor Marilyn Campbell Rodman pointed to American Recovery Plan (ARP) money as another funding source. Alderman Nate Wilson stressed the need for stormwater management.
Engineer Wilson said ARP funding was highly competitive and would go to shovel-ready projects. Monteagle would need to do mapping and data collection about water lines, sewer lines and stormwater patterns.
“We need to spend money to get a shot at getting money,” Alderman Alvin Powell observed.
Rodman asked engineer Wilson to determine the cost of a Geographic Information System (GIS) study for water, sewer and stormwater. The council will hold a special called meeting at 8 a.m., Monday, Oct. 18, to vote on a budget amendment to allow the GIS project to go forward.
Taking up a current stormwater problem, structural engineer and Monteagle resident Jim Waller presented photographs documenting muddy rainwater breeching the barriers at the Petro project construction site, entering city stormwater drains, and polluting Laurel Lake with mud. Waller notified the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC). According to Waller, TDEC replied that lake pollution control was Monteagle’s responsibility, and the city needed to adopt a Source Water Protection Plan. City engineer Travis Wilson had left before Waller spoke. Rodman will forward him the information for review.
Rodman presented Monteagle Policeman Chad Locke with a plaque recognizing him for outstanding service. Police Chief Jared Nunley called Locke “a gentle giant.” Nunley said in the year and a half Locke had been with the department, they received frequent calls from both residents and out-of-state travelers praising Locke who went out of his way to help people.
Reporting on police department funding, Janet Miller-Schmidt said the department received a $3,000 grant for bullet proof vests. Advisor Greg Maloof said residents Tim and Katie Trahan had pledged $3,000 for purchase of a generator for the department. If the city contributes $2,000, the Trahans will increase their pledge to $5,000.
Rodman updated the council on plans for a native plant garden along the Mountain Goat Trail. Rodman said the project, sponsored by the nonprofit Growing Roots, had expanded from the original design. “This is not just a garden. There are multiple structures.” She expressed concerns about maintenance. “We don’t need anything else pulling at our staff … We need something more substantial than just volunteers.”
Revisiting a discussion about tiny homes, building inspector Earl Geary said more was at issue than home size, defined as under 600 square feet by Monteagle ordinances. International building codes stipulate minimum room size and other floor plan rules for fire safety. Monteagle only allows tiny homes in R-4 zoning and currently has no R-4 zoning. Alderwoman Dorraine Parmley asked where Geary would recommend R-4 zoning. Geary said he wanted guidance from the state fire marshal before offering recommendations.
The council passed a resolution approving a $1 million grant application for purchase of a new fire truck.
The council also passed a resolution removing the requirement stipulating the council must make specific findings before allowing rezoning. Alderpersons Wilson and Jessica Favaloro voted against the resolution. “[The requirement] lets the public know we’re doing our job,” Wilson said. Favaloro concurred, “We’ve had it a long time, and it never served us badly.” Rodman pointed out the requirement had rarely been followed. City attorney Sam Elliot recommended removing the requirement.
In keeping with zoning regulations, the city will create a seven-member Board of Zoning Appeals, staffed by Rodman, Alderman Wilson, Planning Commissioner Richard Black and four business people from the community.
Resident Andy Patel approached the council about starting a cricket league, which would host games at the ballpark on Saturday evenings from 10 p.m.–1 a.m. Rodman said a contract addressing insurance and reimbursing the city for costs would be needed. Alderman Wilson said the contract should also cite the city’s noise ordinance given the late hour of the matches.
The city will host Trunk or Treat, 5–8 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 28. Children will parade to the Town Pavilion for Halloween movies beginning at 6:15 p.m.
Applications for a part-time baseball coordinator are being accepted until Friday, Nov. 19.