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Send slopes ordinance back to drawing board

With climate change impacts more seriously degrading land and streams, we need to halt actions which provide profits to builders and developers that smack of irresponsibility.

It's been more than two years since concerned citizens spoke out about the need for better control over development on steep slopes and floodplains. The city council then called for a Natural Resources Assessment from Regional Planning, knowing that Chattanooga needed new ordinances.

Now, finally, the council gets around to an ordinance for steep slopes — one so weak as to be ineffective at stopping erosion and landslides we are increasingly witnessing. Council members should send this one back to the drawing table. As written, builders do not have to deal with slope unless it's like a mountain (33%). Yet erosion occurs locally at much lesser slants.

The Council will consider this at its March 30 meeting. Citizens should speak up once again to reject this proposal as is. Let's prevent problems rather than have to fix them at taxpayer or homeowner expense.

And by the way, what about the floodplain part? We can't keep filling in floodplains and wetlands. Floodwaters have to go somewhere.

Sandra Kurtz

Chairman, South Chickamauga Creek Greenway Alliance

 

Driveways, sidewalks should be considered

There is a part of this [steep slopes] issue that has not been publicly considered, to my knowledge.

It is unsafe for first responders (EMT, fire, police) to have to negotiate steep sidewalks and driveways to access a home during an emergency. This is especially true at night or in wet/ice conditions.

Our local heroes need to be able to access the sides and rear of a property to get water on the backside of a home and rescue residents through windows, and not fear they are going to fall off an unnecessary man-made cliff.

I would ask that council consider an amendment clause that says no driveway or sidewalk exceed a maximum slope to be determined by CDOT, with input from all the departments that have to negotiate the slope.

CDOT requires maximum slope compliance for public and private streets and sidewalks. It is a great source of expertise and should be consulted in this matter when it comes to accessing private property during an emergency.

Lee Helena Jr.

 

Georgia legislators, focus on new mothers

I am a senior social work major at Dalton State College. I have been following the Georgia General Assembly in class this year.

While the U.S. focuses on what Georgia passes regarding voting procedures, I am disheartened what is not being considered. House Bill 72 concerning New Mothers Medicaid Expansion was to increase Medicaid from 60 days to one year.

Why are Georgia leaders not concerned our state is ranked 50th for maternal mortality? The maternal health crisis in Georgia needs to be addressed immediately, not the overhauling of Georgia's voting system.

Having Georgia expand Medicaid to new mothers goes beyond one postpartum checkup six weeks after birth. The expansion can also help new mothers seek medical help for complications that often arise after the original 60 days, including post-delivery pain, postpartum depression and even anxiety. For example, a woman has a better chance for postpartum survival in Uzbekistan, a Third-World country, than Georgia.

As a Georgian, I hope when the dust settles over limiting voters' rights that our representatives consider extending Medicaid to help mothers in need. Who knows, one of these women may end up being the vote that decides the next election.

Megan Collins

Ringgold, Georgia

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