​Monteagle Council Tackles Yard Problem; Approves Deannexation and Speed Limit Change

by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer

At the Nov. 27 meeting, the Monteagle Town Council discussed the possible outcome of issuing citations to owners of three wrecker services for failure to erect a fence screening “junked” conveyances from view. The council also approved deannexation of a portion of Deep Woods, and raising the speed limit to 30 miles per hour on North Central Ave.
Codes Enforcement Officer Earl Geary said the three wrecker service owners in violation of the fencing ordinance passed in August were ordered to appear in court on Dec. 14.
A concerned resident presenting photographs of one lot said, “It’s a mess and never been dealt with. It’s been an eyesore for years.”
Police Chief Virgil McNeese expected difficulty enforcing the ordinance. “The judge is appointed, not elected. He can impose a $50 a day fine, but if they don’t pay the fine, it turns into a civil matter.” McNeese said the district attorney advised the city to put a lien on the property, clean it up and hold the property until the city was reimbursed for fines and cleanup expenses.
Geary pointed out that following that course of action it was likely “you won’t get your money until the property sells.”
The resident presenting the photographs said that in the past when there were complaints, the owner of the lot moved wrecked vehicles from one location to another. Numerous residents spoke out objecting to the junked vehicle lots.
McNeese said the hearing would be held at 6 p.m. at the Monteagle City Hall. “If you want to testify, I’ll advise the judge why you are there.”
Preliminary to approving on a second reading deannexation of the portion of Deep Woods remaining in the Monteagle city limits, Mayor David Sampley asked for comments from residents.
“Why was Deep Woods ever annexed in the first place?” asked a resident who recently purchased a lot in the segment slated for deannexation. “It caused me a lot of grief trying to figure out who my utility service providers are,” she said. Her lot is located in Marion County, but her utility service comes from Franklin County. “Is there any benefit to being part of Monteagle?”
“No,” answered City Recorder Debby Taylor. She explained the annexation occurred more than 20 years ago under Mayor Charles Rollins. “It had something to do with water service,” Taylor said.
The council approved the deannexation unanimously.
Citing an August decision to lower the speed limit on side streets to 20 miles per hour on a trial basis, a resident asked the council to restore the speed limit to 30 miles per hour on North Central Ave. “There is very little pedestrian traffic,” she said. “It’s hilly and you have to ride your brakes.”
Alderman Kenneth Gipson agreed. “It will be hard to get up the hill in the winter.”
Another resident said he and his daughter no longer traveled North Central due to the speeding. “I’m not complaining about 20 or 30 miles an hour, but many motorists drive 50 miles an hour.”
“Police officers have been writing tickets,” McNeese said. “In my opinion 31 miles per hour is too fast on a residential street.”
“I think five miles an hour over the speed limit should be reckless driving.” By Tennessee state law, 30 mph over the speed limit is reckless driving.
The council approved increasing the speed limit to 30 mph on North Central Ave., with Alderman Anna Zeman opposing.
The board also approved retaining Randy Adams to demolish the large building in the Monteagle Annex previously used for a fire hall. Adams was the low bidder at $17,200, with other bids ranging from $23,000 to $71,000.
Asked about demolition of the smaller building in the annex, Sampley said, “The smaller building was inspected by engineers and determined to be still usable. They said there was no reason to demolish it.”
Both the fire department and utility department have expressed an interest in using the smaller building to store equipment.
The council meets next Jan. 29, 2018. The council will not meet in Dec.