published Thursday, October 13th, 2011

Kimball eyes planning commission expansion

By Ryan Lewis/Correspondent

KIMBALL, Tenn. — City administrators have begun the process of forming a municipal-regional planning commission so they'll have input on land development in the area.

The Kimball Board of Mayor and Alderman has unanimously approved the move, which was the initial step in creating the new planning commission.

Mayor David Jackson said Kimball is trying to form a regional commission so the city "can have some say-so on how development [on top of the mountain overlooking Kimball] is being handled."

The town wants to avoid "unnecessary" rainwater caused by mountaintop development that could lead to flooding in Kimball, Jackson said.

"We've talked about this over the last couple of years," he said. "A concern of the [current] planning commission and a concern of mine is making sure everything is done accordingly up there to prevent any type of excess water runoff from the top of the mountain."

A peak on the mountain with an elevation of 1,900 feet is of particular interest and considered an area where development could cause "[rainwater] to come back" toward Kimball, he said.

"We do have some preliminary drawings on what parts of the mountain we're looking at," Jackson said.

Officials said nearby Jasper and Monteagle already have municipal-regional planning commissions.

Kimball must define its region, officials said, and it cannot infringe on another city's zone.

City Attorney Billy Gouger said converting to this type of planning commission will give the town more power in the areas outside the city.

"You have the ability to enforce your subdivision regulations outside of the city limits," he said.

Officials said the move has nothing to do with annexation.

"It's simply for the purpose of allowing the town of Kimball to be involved in the decision-making process of development that could have an impact on the town," Gouger said.

If approved by the state, the current planning commission would add two new members who live inside the defined planning zone, but outside the city limits, officials said.

Ryan Lewis is based in Marion County. Contact him at ryanlewis34@gmail.com.

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