Lookout Mountain's only practicing physician, family practitioner Dr. Bill Moore Smith, will need approval from Lookout Mountain, Ga.'s, City Council to move into a new office built by developer David DeVaney.
That shouldn't be hard to come by.
"We're all ecstatic that he's staying," Councilman Jim Sabourin said. "We've always wanted to keep him on Lookout Mountain -- particularly on the Georgia side."
The city has set a public hearing at 5:30 p.m. July 11 for the proposal to rezone as commercial property one-third of an acre of Lookout Mountain United Methodist Church's parking lot so DeVaney can build an office there for Smith. It will be right across the street from Smith's current office next to Fairyland Pharmacy at McFarland and Lula Lake roads.
Smith has said he can stay only if he gets a new office because the current one is too small to allow him to do things such as store the medical records that, by law, he's required to keep.
The notice for the hearing encourages all interested parties to attend.
Town center revived
Meanwhile, the City Council isn't encouraging people to attend a closed-door meeting at 3:30 p.m. today to discuss possibly selling some or all of the City Hall acreage at 1214 Lula Lake Road to make room for a town center, perhaps one with a grocery store, cafe and new city buildings.
Sabourin doesn't expect council members to take any action when they emerge from behind closed doors.
For much of the past 18 months, residents have packed into City Hall for hours attending multiple meetings about previous town center proposals.
The town center concept faded away in the spring, though, when developer Jimmy Chapin withdrew his plans for one.
Now Chapin's former business partner Greg Voges has revived the town center idea.
Voges couldn't be reached for comment, and Sabourin couldn't say exactly how a new town center project might be configured.
"There's so many variables, and there's lots of options," Sabourin said.
Jimmy Campbell, a City Council watcher who attends meetings regularly, said, "I don't think the city can build a town center without a tax increase."
Campbell said he is not sure residents would support higher taxes.
If the council decides to pursue a town center development, the city likely would issue a request for proposals as it did the last time around.
"Nobody's really looking forward to the process [of starting] from square one," Sabourin said. "However, we all are looking forward to having that location developed and having our town center there."
Contact staff writer Tim Omarzu at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6651.
Tim Omarzu covers education for the Times Free Press. Omarzu is a longtime journalist who has worked as a reporter and editor at daily and weekly newspapers in Michigan, Nevada and California.