Chattanooga City Council narrowly approves business improvement district, awaits public hearing

Buildings inside a proposed Business Improvement District are seen on Tuesday, April 16, 2019, in Chattanooga, Tenn. The proposed district would encompass downtown Chattanooga from the Riverfront to 11th Street and from U.S. Highway 27 to different areas bordered by Cherry Street, Lindsay Street and Georgia Avenue.

The Chattanooga City Council narrowly voted to approve a proposed business improvement district on first reading Tuesday, despite some confusion surrounding state requirements on a public hearing.

Nonprofit downtown redevelopment group River City Co. and business owners in the area have proposed and filed a petition to create a special property owner-funded district in Chattanooga's city center that would have access to business promotion resources, mimicking thousands of similar districts across the country. Supporters have collected signatures supporting the creation of the district from 57.9% of property owners in the area, exceeding the state-required 50% of properties, and 76.6% of the assessed value in the improvement district, also topping the 66.6% required for such districts.

Tuesday, the decision was put in the hands of the council, five of whom voted to allow the business improvement district to come before citizens next week in its first public hearing and final reading, per Tennessee law.