City Council meeting - 05/17/2011
The Chattanooga City Council approved Tuesday night setting future standards for horses in the city as homeowners squabbled over whether the ordinance affects them.
But council members said the ordinance has no bearing on a dispute about whether horses can be kept at a home on Jenkins Road that is now battling to keep its equines on the site.
“We’re not the judge on this,” Councilman Peter Murphy said.
The council approved the horse ordinance 9-0, which gives horse owners a chance to apply for a special permit. But questions were fired at council members on whether the city would enforce its current zoning regulations in regard to the Jenkins Road rental property.
Allen Jones, a neighbor to the property, came before the council last week to say the stench of manure, along with an abundance of flies, was affecting his standard of living.
Candis Cooper-Potts, co-owner of the property, came before the council Tuesday night and gave them a chronological order of events, saying they never knew about the city’s grandfather clause and did not think they had violated that code. Zoning regulations state those with horses are grandfathered in unless they do not have horses on the premises after 100 days.
Cooper-Potts argued her home that also has a barn would not meet the standards of the permit. She rents the home to a couple who moved here from Las Vegas and owns two horses.
“The ordinance directly affects this,” she said.
But council members disagreed, saying their case was a zoning matter and needed to come before City Court.
“This isn’t the place to lay this out,” Murphy said.
Confusion within the council came out earlier during the agenda session of the council’s committee meeting concerning last week’s vote. The council had voted to approve the special permit and give Potts 10 days to move the horses from the property.
Council members agreed it was inappropriate for them to tell the city administration how to conduct business. Later that night, they voted to rescind the 10 days and vote only on the horse permit ordinance as a first reading.
In other news, the council voted to defer for a week design plans for a city wellness center and clinic on 11th Street at the former site of Chattanooga Gas Co.
Council members said they had questions about funding of the property.
The proposed horse ordinance will go through a second and final reading next week after the council voted to re-vote on the measure as a first reading.
Cliff has worked for the Times Free Press for five years and covers Chattanooga city government. He previously covered Rhea County, as well as transportation and growth and development in Southeast Tennessee. A native of Maryville, Tenn., Cliff graduated in 2003 from the University of Tennessee with a bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis on journalism. Before coming to Chattanooga, he was a crime reporter with Hernando Today, a supplement of The Tampa (Fla.) ...
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