Elizabethton City Council… Zoning question takes main spotlight during November meeting

Published 1:06 am Saturday, November 16, 2019




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The Elizabethton City Council met in regular session on Thursday evening to address a couple of items of old business and look at nine items of new business.

Leading into the meeting one proclamation and two recognitions were first on the floor as Mayor Curt Alexander through proclamation declared that November be Adverse Childhood Experiences Awareness Month.

The proclamation brings into light 13 types of childhood adversity identified by the ACE’s study.

Those include physical, emotional, and sexual abuse, physical and emotional neglect, household dysfunction including mental illness, incarcerated relatives, mother treated violently, substance abuse and divorce.

Three new ACE’s include poverty, racism, and bullying.

Mayor Alexander and Councilman Richard Barker presented a plaque to Gary Sparks in recognition of Sparks assuming the position of Interim Library Director for 2019. He also served in that capacity in 2014.

Councilman Michael Simerly and Mayor Alexander also recognized Ed Jordan who serves as the Chairman of Keep Carter County Beautiful.

Simerly noted efforts by Jordan and his team in cleaning up the Blue Hole, an area in Poga, and a dumpsite in Roan Mountain to help ensure that Carter County remains a nice, clean place to live.

During the comments from citizens portion of the meeting, the council heard from Chris Little.

Little was very upset about the breaking news on Thursday that the Chamber of Commerce was stepping away from the Covered Bridge Celebration, the lighting of the Christmas tree, and the Downtown Christmas Parade.

“The question is – where do we move forward,” asked Little of the council after reviewing some tourism projects done by private groups throughout Carter County. “I don’t know the answer to that because it’s above my pay grade.

“The chamber hasn’t helped us with a single thing. A lot of tourism needs to happen here in Elizabethton. What can we do?

“I would love to see the city and county sit down and talk a strong conversation about tourism and where we are going to go. My opinion is that needs to be a partnership between the two,” continued Little.

“What we have isn’t working. Now is the time to sit down and come up with something new.”

A couple of noted pieces of business included councils’ approval to apply for a $500,000 Appalachian Regional Commission grant for the restoration of the Bonnie Kate Theater.

The city would have to provide $214, 288 in city funds as part of the federal grant requirements.

The grant represents the first large grant provided for the purpose of restoring the theater.

Also, the council voted unanimously to approve a resolution regarding the 2019 LTSA Matching Grant with the Tennessee State Library and Archives.

The resolution allows for a $4,868 grant from the State of Tennessee for the purchase of computers to replace the old public access computers.

It also will provide for the purchase of software licenses for all library computers and a new iPad for all Square transactions along with wireless access points to provide wireless internet access.

The one piece of business that took up most of the time for the meeting revolved around an ordinance to amend the zoning map to rezone property located at 301 East Elk Avenue from a B-3 Central Business District to a B-2 Arterial Business District.

Property owner Jason Dupell was seeking the rezoning to allow the property to not only be able to sell cars as is being done currently at the location as well as being able to do mechanical work at the location which B-2 would allow.

Dupell has approached the Zoning and Planning Commission on a couple of other occasions seeking something to be done as the property has either been a service station or an auto sales lot for many years.

In his last attempt, the Commission voted not to rezone so Dupell approached the council seeking a final resolution.

After much discussion between the council, Dupell, and Jon Hartman, the council agreed to defer any decisions and asked Dupell, Hartman, and the zoning and planning commission to sit down and see if there could be an agreement reached on the property.

Mayor Alexander and the council expressed a desire to make sure to get a solution to Dupell’s request.