published Thursday, February 4th, 2010

Commission votes to sell old Signal school site


by Matt Wilson
Audio clip

Hamilton County Commission meeting

The Signal Mountain Town Council could vote as early as Monday to rezone the old Signal Mountain Middle School property for a community athletic club, Mayor Bill Lusk said.

"It's the highest and best use for that property," Mr. Lusk said. "I would have liked to see this move forward months ago."

Mr. Lusk said delays in the progress of the athletic club site have led to vandalism at the old middle school, including broken windows.

The sale of the site to Tom Poteet was delayed in August after a Hamilton County Commission vote that placed restrictions in the deed on how the property could be used. Mr. Poteet sued the county in October over that decision.

Soon after the vote in August, Mr. Poteet said he believed the restrictions put him in a difficult position.

Mr. Poteet now has agreed to withdraw his suit in a compromise with Commissioner Richard Casavant, who represents Signal Mountain.

Under the compromise, the restrictions would come out of the deed after five years, Mr. Poteet's death or upon a decision to rezone the property back to residential, whichever comes first.

At Wednesday's County Commission meeting, commissioners voted unanimously to sell the property to Mr. Poteet. Dr. Casavant made the motion to move forward with the vote.

WHAT'S NEXT

The Signal Mountain Town Council will vote to rezone the old Signal Mountain Middle School property from residential to community commercial so it can be developed into an athletic center.

"The suit will be dismissed by both parties, including us, and the legal fees on their side will be paid by their side," he said.

County Attorney Rheubin Taylor said the suit would be dropped upon closing the sale.

Mr. Poteet said he's ready to move forward with construction "once we finish the final details and get fully across the finish line."

Mr. Poteet offered $800,000 and two tracts of land near Soddy-Daisy High School for the middle school property.

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