Speed, rezoning get attention of county leaders
by CHRISTY ARMSTRONG  Banner Staff Writer
Jan 14, 2014 | 1040 views | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Issues like speed limits and rezoning dominated most of the discussion during the Bradley County Commission’s work session on Monday.

After some brief announcements, commissioners heard from county engineer Sandra Knight.

Knight presented a list of recommended speed limits to be considered for all county roads and also gave commissioners a look at how a resolution passed late last year had created a “precedent” for county residents wanting to use their properties in new ways.

On Dec. 2, 2013, the Commission passed a resolution allowing Roumelia Lane to be paved so the owner could build a house on a land lot she owned. She had tried to get a building permit, but it was denied because the unpaved road adjoining the property was not listed as a county road.

The area had been on the books since the 1970s, but the county had failed to have the road grandfathered in as other roads in the area were made into county roads. The resolution’s approval allowed the road to be paved with gravel so property owners could obtain permits to build on their land.

Since the resolution passed, Knight said a few property owners had approached the county saying they were in the same boat as the owner of the Roumelia Lane property had been. She asked the Commission to add the matter to their agenda at some point. Still, she cautioned commissioners to be careful with the number of resolutions they make.

“Do remember you’re setting precedents when you do that,” Knight said.

After Commissioner Adam Lowe asked about the possible costs of redoing the roads near the properties with pending requests, she said it would “cost a lot of money.” 

Commissioner Terry Caywood said it would be in the best interest of the county to take care of the roads because it would eventually give the county more tax revenues.

He argued that, for property tax purposes, lots with houses on them are more valuable to the county than vacant lots.

“When we don’t develop more roads, we keep our tax base at a lower level,” Caywood said.

Commissioner Bill Winters said he was concerned about setting even more of a precedent on that matter moving forward.

Lowe said a solution to the “epidemic” might be limiting the changes to a certain number per year.

Both Commissioners Charlotte Peak-Jones and Jeff Yarber said they knew passing the original resolution would likely lead to more resolutions like it. Still, they pointed out the issue was the result of mistakes Bradley County made in the past.

“At some point, the wrongs have to be righted,” Yarber said.

The Commission ultimately decided to refer the matter to its road and finance committees. The matter would then be referred back to the Commission.

Two requests for rezoning areas along Dalton Pike and Helton Road were also discussed. However, the items were removed from the agenda for the Commission’s next voting session because a recent legal notice for public hearings on the zoning changes contained the wrong date.

The next voting session will take place Tuesday, Jan. 21, in the Bradley County Courthouse. While the Commission normally meets on Mondays, the county’s offices will be closed to observe Martin Luther King Jr. Day.