On Tuesday, the City Council moved forward with several new projects, including a previously disputed planning ordinance.
Members also addressed the issue of outsourcing state employees on local college campuses and approved plans for a sewer pumping station renovation.
Stringer Street rezoning
The original ordinance requested rezoning of a few properties on North Chattanooga’s Stringer Street to allow Wise Properties to build a new apartment complex marketed toward individuals looking to achieve a healthy lifestyle.
At a Sept. 12 City Council meeting, a couple of residents from this neighborhood opposed the ordinance, citing concern about the potential for an increase in traffic congestion on a street not meant to handle large numbers of vehicles.
The approved amended ordinance includes a set of requirements for the apartment complex meant to help reduce this congestion.
The new property must divert its traffic to Gurley Street only, no pedestrian or vehicular access to Stringer Street should exist, and no trash receptacle service will be allowed between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m.
John Wise, CEO of Wise Properties, also agreed to add more parking spaces to the complex’s lot to reduce the number of cars needing to be parked on nearby streets.
“We’ve met with the neighbors and Councilman [Chip] Henderson and made some adjustments,” Wise said during the meeting. “I think we have everybody happy at this point.”
District 9 City Councilwoman Demetrus Coonrod requested a resolution “in support of UTC and Chattanooga State employees resisting their services being outsourced” to be placed on the agenda for the Oct. 10 meeting.
Earlier this year, Tennessee entered a five-year contract with Jones Lang LaSalle as part of Gov. Bill Haslam’s plan to reduce state spending by millions of dollars by outsourcing on-campus jobs.
The plan dictates that current employees will be able to stay in their current positions if they pass a drug test and background check, and must receive the same compensation for their work. The proposal also allows state universities and community colleges to opt out of the plan.
However, some Tennesseans are still concerned with the effects it might have on their respective communities.
“I’m an employee of the housing and residence life at UTC, and I know how hard my co-workers at facilities and housing work,” Jared Story said during the Sept. 26 City Council meeting. “Some of them are responsible for multiple huge buildings, and they work very hard and they depend on the stable wages and benefits that a state job provides.”
Sewage pumping station renovations
City Council approved a resolution allowing the Department of Public Works to begin renovations on a sewer pump station on Moccasin Bend.
The renovations planned for the station are intended to reduce wet weather flows to the station, improve the station’s reliability, maximize the use of the facilities and mitigate sanitary sewer overflows.
To do this, City Council allocated $1.583 million to demolish existing structures that are not being used and build or add on to structures that will help increase capacity.
The station had been having issues with some intense overflowing of certain areas. The renovations are planned to eliminate this overflow by 2020.
Alina Hunter-Grah is a contributing writer. She currently attends UTC, where she was previously the news editor of the student newspaper, The University Echo. Alina also worked at CNN during the summer of 2017 and is the former Chattanooga correspondent for 2nd & Church, a literary magazine based out of Nashville.