Mayor Ron Littlefield lays claim to land around three cities Chattanooga may want to annex

Mayor Ron Littlefield lays claim to land around three cities Chattanooga may want to annex

October 19th, 2011 by Cliff Hightower and Ansley Haman in News

Chattanooga Mayor Ron Littlefield

Photo by John Rawlston/Times Free Press.

Chattanooga responded Tuesday to a request for more information about its urban growth boundary plans by detailing a wide swath of land around three cities it could potentially want to annex in the future.

Mayor Ron Littlefield drafted the letter Tuesday and sent it to the county.

The five-paragraph letter simply states Chattanooga's proposed plans for potential growth boundaries. They include areas around Lakesite, Soddy-Daisy and Collegedale. The lands unclaimed by any of these three cities, the letter states.

"Thank you for your attention on this matter," Littlefield wrote. "I look forward to working with you and other officials of local government to take full advantage of this new season of growth and development."

Mayor Jim Coppinger declined to comment Tuesday, saying he wanted a chance to review the letter.

He said a special assistant to Littlefield dropped off the letter late Tuesday evening to county Chief of Staff Mike Compton.

Littlefield triggered an exchange of letters last week when he sent a letter to the county asking that the urban growth boundaries for all cities within Hamilton County be reopened and reexamined. The existing boundaries were set in 2001 after a meticulous two-year process.

But the county responded that it needed more information from the city regarding its growth boundary plans. Littefield's letter Tuesday was a response to that request.

County Commission Chairman Larry Henry said he hasn't seen the letter yet, but he's received calls from residents.

Hamilton County Commissioner Larry Henry

Photo by John Rawlston/Times Free Press.

POLL: Is the new city of Hamilton a good idea?

"The people who are living in my district who are on the radar screen to be annexed, are adamantly against it," Henry said. "Sewer is the big issue. They're going to pay the sewer tax without the sewer. They know they're not going to get anything out of the city of Chattanooga.

"They don't have a real big problem with paying the taxes if they're going to get the service for it," Henry said.

The fears of possible future annexation led to one group -- friendsofhamilton.org -- to send a news release out on Monday that they wanted to form their own city of Hamilton, Tenn., on the northeastern portion of the county.

Littlefield said talks like this are exactly what he thinks needs to happen within the community when discussing the urban growth boundaries. He has said he wants to look at the urban growth boundaries because of enormous potential for growth around Enterprise South from Volkswagen and Amazon.

City Council Chairwoman Pam Ladd said Tuesday night council members had not received a copy of the letter.

She said she would prefer a face-to-face conversation rather than a letter announcing a unilateral plan. She said the exchanges going on right now make her leery about what could happen now if a meeting takes place.

"You're already going to have people coming there with preconceived notions and maybe some opposing views," she said.

She also said she also worried about city and county relations at this point.

"I'm concerned both governments continue to work in silos," she said.

Connect with the Times Free Press on Facebook