Committees discuss planning commission regulations, courthouse renovations

By Lesley Jenkins
Star staff

Consultations and recommendations from lawyers about a recently rescinded private law dominated the Rules and By-Laws Committee Meeting on June 20.
   Al Meehan, Chairman of the Rules and By-Laws Committee, discussed the new rules County Executive Dale Fair will follow when he picks the new members of the Regional Planning Commission. In order for the planning commission to be in compliance with Tennessee law, beginning in April 2004, Fair would have to choose a member from each district of the county to make up the 12-member committee.
   In the previous years, the planning commission was compiled of members chosen by the county executive according to a private act in Carter County which held that each district did not have to be represented. This private act has been decided to be no longer valid by a Tennessee statute.
   "We're still right under the law now," Meehan said. "But future picking has to have new rules."
   Fair will review applications that will include an area to discuss the goals and reasons for being interested for a position on the committee.
   "We are all Carter Countians, but I will look at what they can bring to the planning commission," said Fair. "We need people from all over the town. I think we should have each of our districts represented."
   Although discussion of the planning commission was a large part of the meeting, it will not be presented before the County Commission on Monday.
   Renovations of existing offices and buildings topped the agenda in the Buildings and Grounds Committee Meeting, but a new idea for the purchase of a lot in the Little Milligan area might benefit more people in an emergency was also discussed.
   Fair introduced Eddie Clawson, Fire Chief at Elk Mills-Poga Volunteer Fire Department, who showed interest about property in the Little Milligan area that is being offered for sale to the county for $4,500. The property covers more than a half acre of land with county roads bordering it.
   It would be ideal for a future site of a multi-purpose lot for Rescue Squad and Fire Department personnel and equipment. Fair commented on the need for a station to service Fish Springs and Little Milligan and the surrounding areas, because there is no fire service station from Elk Mills to Hampton.
   The Building and Grounds Committee shared ideas for the remodeling of the white house adjacent to the rear of the courthouse. Fair said the house will be the future site of the Veteran's Services office, which will be helpful for disabled veterans to access rather than the current office on the second floor of the courthouse. The house will also provide a place for all the maps of the county to be viewed.
   The item for a much needed renovation and addition to the Register of Deeds office was addressed. Beeson, Lusk and Street Architectural Firm won the bid to perform the renovation. The renovation will include restoring the existing office space, installing new dry wall and upgrading the electrical system up to codes. An addition of 1,800 square feet will square off the side of the building and provide an area for additional bathrooms.
   The Building and Grounds Committee also nominated and voted JoAnn Blankenship as Vice Chairwoman.
   All items brought before the committee were motioned and passed to be presented to the full county commission on Monday at 7:00 p.m.
   Bringing up a safety concern for citizens was County Commissioner Jim Whaley. He addressed the problem of residents lacking proper identification on their homes and driveways. Inadequate marking causes major problems for rescue and law enforcement to reach homes in an emergency, according to Whaley, who is also a deputy for the Sheriff's Department.
   "It's untold how much money is spent, because we have to keep riding around searching for houses," Whaley said. "In an emergency, time is critical, and sometimes we can search for someone's house for half-an-hour if there is a line of mailboxes, but none of the houses are marked."