Lookout to debate land-use proposal

Lookout to debate land-use proposal

April 6th, 2009 by Mike Pare in Georgia


What: Lookout Mountain, Ga., City Council workshop concerning PUD ordinance

Where: City Hall

When: 5:30 p.m. today

Why: The public is invited to attend, though this is a working session for the council and not a public hearing.

Discussion of a proposed guide for growth in Lookout Mountain, Ga., continues this evening during a Lookout Mountain City Council workshop.

Elected officials for several months have been wrestling with a proposed ordinance to allow planned unit developments for this mountaintop city in Walker County.

"The planning commission has recommended approval and we've held a public hearing," Mayor Tom Gifford said. "Now the council will discuss the proposed ordinance and determine what to do next."

Supporters and opponents of the proposed PUD agree it would establish guidelines for disciplined growth and development within the city. Some questioned whether it would be too broad or fail to adequately address stormwater, sewer and engineering concerns.

Lookout for Smart Growth, a group opposed to the current version of the ordinance, has called on city officials to hire outside consultants to help revise and redraft the ordinance.

Gail Bryan, a member of the grass-roots opposition, said, "There needs to be more of a collaboration between the city officials, the citizens and an independent land planner."

Mr. Gifford said a PUD ordinance would not signal a go-ahead for any specific projects, but would provide broad guidelines. Both the planning commission and the council would have to grant approval for any individual projects.

According to the record of the Sept. 18, 2008, City Council meeting, Mr. Gifford said, "The best way for us to proceed with the PUD and the most efficient way is for Longmeadow (the developers of Chapelbrow) to give us the parameters that they need for this to be an economically viable project and then us take that and put it in a PUD."

Chapelbrow is a residential development with a mix of single-family, multifamily and assisted living homes. Among other amenities. Resident Scottie Maclellan has proposed a town center development at the site of the former Mountain Market.

"The council's role is not to redo everything that has been done to date, but to look at the overall picture and how best the city can move forward," Mr. Gifford said. "This is a big decision, but we have a lot of information at our disposal and it is time to move forward."