Property owners who live on Oberon Trail across Lula Lake Road from the city’s new municipal buildings voiced their frustrations with how their property has been affected by the new development. The homeowners, who all agreed to have their street closed on one end to create a parking lot, originally viewed the new development as a way to make the city better and were prepared for the inconveniences resulting from construction. But they were not prepared for the water problems or the intense light pollution.
The impervious surfaces created with the large roofs and parking lots around the new buildings are partially to blame. Additionally, the parking lot built across the street was sub-standard and had to be taken up in preparation for repaving. The construction also added to the water problems. Water has to go somewhere, said one concerned citizen, and it is still seeking the original creek bed. However a large dirt berm that was built is redirecting the water from the creek and into people’s homes and yards. Another problem that the residents are dealing with is the excessive light from the dozen double streetlights that shine in their windows all night. Even though they are on dimmers, there are too many of them, and the light cannot be dimmed any more.
A meeting will be held where all parties involved, including residents, builders, engineers and the council, will try to find a solution for both problems, said Vice Mayor Arch Willingham. But the residents asked for an immediate, temporary solution to protect their houses, in addition to a permanent plan ready to be implemented when the groups meet.
The gas company is in the process of hooking up the last houses to the new gas lines and will follow up by checking all properties, sidewalks and streets that need additional repair resulting from the work. The whole gas line replacement project will be complete by the end of September or early October. Repairs on Wood Nymph Trail are nearing completion, and the repair behind hole No. 2 on the LMC’s golf course is nearly finished. Ditch work has started on the south end of the city. In preparation for fall, the city’s old garbage truck is being converted into a leaf truck, and salt is being purchased for icy roads, said Councilman Kevin Leckenby, the liaison to the public works department.
During July 2022, the police department made 25 traffic stops resulting in 19 warnings and five citations. It answered 12 medical calls during the month and assisted citizens 11 times in July. There were14 burglar alarms and 33 miscellaneous calls during the month. After a recent wind and rainstorm, multiple trees fell, including one whose roots caught and broke a gas line. Council member and volunteer firefighter Kevin Leckenby told the council that after the storm, neighbors in the affected areas were working alongside the volunteer fire fighters in a mutual effort to keep people safe.
During August, the police department scheduled a training drill with the Lookout Mountain, Tenn., police. The city’s new fire truck is due to be delivered in 60 days, and hoses and equipment are being purchased in preparation of the truck arriving. The new golf cart ordinance that will allow their use on the streets after dark passed on the final reading. Commissioner of Fire and Police Taylor Watson said that all other rules relating to golf carts will continue to be enforced.
The council received a recommendation from the planning commission to allow short term vacation rentals on the second story spaces above the proposed commercial district. City attorney Bill Pickering said the planning commission recommended expanded uses in the town center, but that no decision has yet actually been made.
Joe Wheeler Garden across the street from the municipal/commercial development is being designed now. Community volunteer Jimmy Campbell said the purchase of a sprinkler system for the park was approved, but the lowest bid was $10,000 over the budgeted amount. He said the city plans to install a sprinkler system in-house. Trees will be planted first fall, and the flowers will be planted next spring.
City Manager Kenny Lee said the community is using the city hall building as it was envisioned. Pop-up events such as the splash party where kids were sprayed with fire hoses will continue to be held by the city. Other community events in the works include a gathering with food trucks, a musical event and photos with Santa Claus in the great hall.