Lookout Mountain, Tn., Still Battling Parking Issues At Sunset Rock; Home-Made Signs To Come Down

Wednesday, October 10, 2018 - by Gail Perry
Chris Baxter has been promoted to sergeant on the Lookout Mountain, Tn., police force
Chris Baxter has been promoted to sergeant on the Lookout Mountain, Tn., police force

The Lookout Mountain Fire and Police Department has been involved with trying to help a homeowner on West Brow Road near Sunset Rock find parking in addition to what is available in her driveway. Chief Chuck Wells said he has measured roads near the home and brought the largest vehicle, a ladder truck, to different areas nearby, which showed that a parked car would not allow enough room for the truck to make turns. He said that there needs to be two lanes of traffic plus a third lane just for the fire truck or a garbage truck to drive past a parked car.


Chief Wells said the area near the small Sunset Rock parking area has too many walkers, children, curves and visitors in cars coming to the popular climbing area.

He said he does not anticipate finding street parking in the area. He said it is 100 percent about the residents’ safety.


Commissioner Jim Bentley said, "If we can’t get equipment through, it doesn’t matter if a car belongs to a resident or a visitor to Sunset Rock. Parking will not be allowed."


He also said that there are too many signs around Sunset Rock, including some put up by homeowners and some of unknown origin. But the city is getting ready to take down the “resident only” parking signs. Going forward signs will have to be approved by the commissioners before they can be put up.


The town's fire and police force is now 100 percent certified in fire, police and medic training, said Commissioner Bentley. He announced that two more officers just graduated from the Tennessee Law Enforcement Academy. Another officer, Chris Baxter, was promoted to the rank of sergeant. He began his career with the Hamilton County Park Service in 2010 and started working with the Lookout Mountain, Tn. police and fire department in 2015. Throughout his career, he has continued his education and has multiple degrees, certifications and honors.


The fire department has been loaned a house for smoke and fire training purposes before it will be torn down and a new one built. Training will include the use of a smoke generator to simulate a fire.


For safety reasons, Commissioner Bentley would like to remind residents that bushes which obstruct sight on the roads need to be trimmed. He said if homeowners do not do it, the town will. He also said that golf carts are not allowed on the streets and that “slow moving vehicles” which look like golf carts must adhere to the same rules as automobiles, including having child seats.


Statistics for the month of September show that police had 304 calls, patrolled 4,809 miles, checked 13 burglar alarms, all false, and had four assist citizen calls and 32 calls to 911. There were six auto accidents with no injuries, and police made 159 traffic stops and gave 28 parking citations. The one arrest made during the month was for possession of a controlled substance. Six medical calls were made in Tennessee and one to assist in Georgia. There was one false fire alarm.


Brooke Pippenger, commissioner of parks and recreation, thanked the Love Lookout Committee for a generous donation that is designated for building a shade structure on the playground. Flag football will start practices and games after fall break with 60 players, and pickle ball markings should be put on the top two tennis courts this week. She reminds residents that the tennis courts are first come, first serve.


Fall break at the school is this week, said Commissioner of Schools Don Stinnett. On last Tuesday, the 71st Lookout Mountain Carnival was held at The Commons. He said, “It was a show stopping success.” He thanked the many volunteers, parents and supporters of the event. A special thank you was given to Randy and Melinda Redberg for donating the new tents that replaced the old wooden booths. They added an extra spark of excitement, he said. The thanks were echoed by Mayor Walker Jones, who said the public works employees benefited by the easy set up and take down of the tents. Report cards will be given Oct. 19 and parent-teacher conferences will take place Oct. 24.


Frank Schriner, commissioner of public works, said that specs for asphalt have been developed and soon will go out to bid. Some paving will take place before the end of the year, weather permitting. The department has been busy picking up brush, and Mr. Schriner reminds residents that if work is done by contractors, they should remove the brush. It is important for leaf piles and brush that is put at the street, to be separated in order to help the public works department. The two leaf machines are ready once leaves begin falling, he said. Recycled glass now goes in a separate bin and plastic bags are no longer accepted for recycling.  


Dwight Montague, town consultant, announced that tax bills should be mailed by the end of this week. He thanked former County Commissioner Joe Graham for the gift of $25,000 that will be use to make repairs caused by drainage issues at The Commons. Expenses during the month of September included the insurance premium for the town, through the TML pool that has been paid in the amount of $100,000. Expenses were higher than usual for the fire and police department because of training that was given and because of the purchase of turn-out gear for fire fighting. The police department also received a new Tahoe in September. Repairing and paving where Bartram Road collapsed cost $23,500.


The commissioners voted to formalize an informal agreement the town has had with WWTA on West Brow Oval to give an easement for accessing the existing pump station that is in need of repair. It will be used to stage equipment during the work.


Former Commissioner Graham came to the Tuesday afternoon meeting to thank the commissioners for honoring him last month with a resolution of appreciation for his eight years of service. It meant a great deal to me, he said, and added that he hoped to serve the town again in the future. Mayor Jones said, "He’s been an invaluable friend to Lookout Mountain, Tn., attending almost every commission meeting. He has brought ideas and solutions and has helped to solve problems. Thank you for all of your assistance."

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