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Vehicles fill the front of the Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport.

City code surrounding the airport has remained largely un-updated since the 1930s, but City Councilwoman Carol Berz intends to change that.

Her proposal for the area, discussed originally with the public at a District Summit Meeting in May, calls for an update to the code similar to the Brainerd Overlay, which specifies parking behind rather than in front of certain establishments, along with signage specifications; identifies potential walkways, and more.

At Berz's next Summit, planned for a yet-to-be determined date in August or September, she will discuss specifications of the proposed Lovell Gateway Overlay.

Overlay zoning is used to create a special district with specific guidelines while keeping the area's base guidelines.

As the airport looks to invest $1.1 million for a new master plan and tourism in the city grows, paying attention to the corridors most traveled by those entering and exiting the city is important, Berz told a packed room during the May Summit.

The focus of the Lovell Gateway Overlay will be on minimum and maximum building heights, landscaping, signage, lighting, building and parking placement, and bike/pedestrian accessibility. Some of those are already addressed via Federal Communication Commission guidelines which provide specifications due to the area's proximity to the airport, Berz said, but this will go beyond to create a holistic plan for the area's aesthetics.

"The response has been, overall, very positive," she said, referencing a survey given to the public at the last meeting.

Following the next public meeting, the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Regional Planning Agency and the Chattanooga City Council will still have to approve the proposal.

Berz said she anticipates the code changes will be put into effect for the 2018-2019 fiscal budget year.

"I made a promise to do this based on a request when we held focus groups eight years ago," she said of the overlays. "[Residents] told us what they wanted, and those have been my marching orders ever since."

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