Planners endorse GIS program

By Thomas Wilson

   The Elizabethton Regional Planning Commission endorsed Tuesday a state-operated mapping system that would identify more than 31,000 parcels of property in Carter County as well as provide topographical data for the county.
   Operated by the state Geographic Information System, the Tennessee Base Mapping Program creates a comprehensive digital base map suitable for inclusion in Geographic Information Systems (GIS).
   "This is being done on a first come, first serve basis by the state," city director of planning and development, David Ornduff, told the Planning Commission at its monthly meeting Tuesday night. Ornduff said he met with a representative of the state's GIS division in April for a briefing about the base mapping system.
   The base map consists of Digital Ortho Imagery and digital parcel database.
   A "digital ortho" is an aerial photograph that has been processed to correct for scale variations and image displacement to calculate the position of objects appearing on the image and represent them in their true position.
   The map can identify property parcels, buildings, topography, railroad lines and electric power poles through the county. Ornduff said the map would permit the county tax assessor and trustee to locate the approximately 31,999 parcels of property within Carter County. The state GIS performs maintenance and updates the map's topography as it changed, Ornduff added.
   Access in the mapping system requires a participating municipality to pony up a local match of 25 percent - roughly $89,000 - to fund the $358,000 price tag for a map's creation and maintenance by the state. Ornduff said contributions from the city and county governments as well as the other local entities that would benefit from the map could satisfy the costs.
   "If you had 10 organizations donating $10,000 each, we could get this done," he said.
   The commission voted to recommend participation in funding the mapping system to the City Council.
   In other business, the commission voted 7-0 to grant site plan and final subdivision approval for relocation of the Napa Auto Parts store currently located at 212 Broad Street. The site plan submitted by Appalachia Design Services relocates the Napa store onto one half-acre tract created from two property parcels where the Shell & Associates real estate company and a former used automobile dealership presently stand.
   Ornduff told commissioners that two existing curb cuts accessing the property from Broad Street would remain open with no additional access points planned.
   The site plan approval finally opens the door for the Walgreens drug store development on the Broad Street property where Napa presently operates.
   Developer Ed Street of Street Construction in Johnson City indicated to commission members at their February meeting that the project was contingent on the closure of several options on properties. The commission voted at that time to rezone property on East C Street from residential to arterial business and close an alley lying between Broad Street and East C Street from Lynn Avenue to the Elizabethton Church of Christ.