Monteagle Tackles Sewer and Industrial Zoning Issues

by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer

At the Dec. 16 meeting, the Monteagle Town Council approved on first reading an ordinance amendment regulating sewer infrastructure in new residential developments and discussed progress in and hurdles to addressing inflow and infiltration (I & I) of storm water into the sanitary sewer system. The council also revisited denying Industrial I-1 zoning to a tract zoned C-3 Commercial.

The proposed Hideaway residential development behind McDonald’s prompted the city engineer and city attorney to recommend the sewer ordinance amendment. Mayor Greg Maloof explained grinder pumps or a STEP system (Septic Tank Effluent Pumping) would be needed since gravity flow was not sufficient to transport sewage from the development to the city’s sewer main. By the amendment, the city has discretion on the type of pumping infrastructure installed. The infrastructure must be approved by the city’s engineer and maintained by the developer for a two-year warranty period, after which the city would take over maintenance.

Addressing the I & I issue, Maloof said sewage treated for the Assembly and for Tracy City contributed to I & I, which increases sewage treatment cost. Utility manager John Condra said CCTV camera inspection of sewer lines to determine flaws and repairs needed would begin in early January. Metering has given the city a “close figure” on the amount of I & I coming from the Assembly, according to Condra. Tracy City reports to Monteagle the amount of sewage entering the Monteagle system for billing purposes. However, Condra said, Tracy City owns the sewer line within Monteagle’s jurisdiction from Ingman Road to Hickory Creek Cottages, and city engineer Travis Wilson was “having trouble” getting Tracy City to agree to a meter at the Ingman Road point to determine the amount of I & I between Ingman Road and Hickory Creek. Maloof will talk with the Tracy City mayor about allowing the metering.

Condra also expressed concern about the amount of sewage from Tracy City and asked if Monteagle would add sewer modules if needed to treat Tracy City’s sewer. “If we do, there has to be a cost [to Tracy City] associated with it,” Maloof said. He also stressed Tracy City and the Assembly would be required to pay for repair of defects in those entities’ sewer lines. Maloof planned to meet with engineer Wilson and Assembly manager Scott Parrish to discuss repair arrangements.

Property owner Dean Lay requested business permits for a propane distribution enterprise and a warehouse on a 6.2 acre tract on Dixie Lee Avenue near I-24 exit 135 on the far side of the interstate bridge. The property is zoned C-3. Both businesses require Industrial I-1 zoning. The council denied rezoning the tract to I-1 at the November meeting. Explaining the decision, Alderman Dan Sargent said, “It [I-1 zoning] included things we didn’t want.” Alderman Nate Wilson added, “Without a compelling business opportunity, it didn’t make sense to zone this industrial.” Lay acknowledge he had not revealed his plans for the property, insisting, as he had told the town planner, “You can’t require me to tell you what I’m gonna put on a piece of property.”

Speaking to the council’s concern that I-1 zoning allowed adult entertainment, Alderwoman Dorraine Parmley suggested rezoning to industrial and denying a business permit to any future enterprise that offered adult entertainment.

Maloof said city attorney Sam Elliot advised him adult entertainment could be removed from the list of allowable Industrial I-1 enterprises. What remains unknown is if the city by law must allow adult entertainment in another category if removed from I-1. Maloof will seek clarification. The council voted to give Lay an answer on the business permits and rezoning by the Jan. 30 meeting.

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