First, the town of Signal Mountain's Land Use Plan was adopted by the Planning Commission in 2008. Next came new subdivision regulations to encourage conservation developments within the town. Those revised regulations were passed by the Signal Mountain Town Council earlier this year.
Now the Council is in the process of voting on changes to the town's zoning ordinance.
If the changes are approved by the Town Council, the zoning ordinance and the subdivision regulations will work together to meet the goals of the Land Use Plan, which is to preserve Signal Mountain's small-town character and conserve natural resources and open spaces, according to a presentation given by Councilwoman and Planning Commissioner Annette Allen at the most recent Town Council meeting.
The changes to the zoning ordinance include adding requirements that support the recently revamped subdivision regulations as well as definitions for new terms and clearer definitions for old terms.
The changes also include lowering a subdivision's setback requirements by as much as half, meaning lot sizes don't need to be as big.
"The zoning ordinances dovetail with the subdivision regulations; they create the whole package," Allen said after the Town Council meeting. "[If the changes are approved] it means the process worked. We had public input and the town listened to the public and created regulations that would give form to what the public envisioned."
The changes to the zoning ordinance passed on first reading with a 4:1 vote. Councilman Bill Wallace was the sole vote against the revised ordinance.
"I appreciate what they've tried to do and they've worked very hard to get it done. It just seemed really constrictive to me," Wallace said as to why he voted against the zoning ordinance changes. "They are tightening up setbacks but pushing parks."
He also said he felt the new ordinance's language toward cultural and historical landmarks is too vague and needs to be better defined.
The proposed changes to the zoning ordinance will likely be voted by the Council on second reading, thus putting them into effect, at the next Council work session, scheduled for Sept. 30 at 10 a.m.