Local News

Story published: 12-26-2012 • Print ArticleE-mail Story to a Friend

Representative Hill speaks to commissioners

By Jonathan Pleasant

Newly elected state representative Timothy Hill made an appearance at last week’s monthly county commission meeting. Officially introducing himself for the first time since winning the election, Hill expressed his appreciation and willingness to work with local officials, explaining that his door is always open and that he welcomes any questions or concerns that the members of the commission or any county official may have. Hill went on to say that even at this early stage he had already been working on very important issues in Johnson County ranging from roads and bridges to animal control and working with local veterans. Wrapping up his speech to the commission, Hill closed by saying that he was excited about the opportunity to represent Johnson County and was ready to get to work in Nashville.

The commission was also given a detailed presentation concerning Doe Mountain by Dr. Tina Delahunty, a special guest invited by Johnson County Mayor Larry Potter. A professor at Texas Tech who also owns a residence in the Mining Town Community where she calls Johnson County home, Delahunty has a very specialized set of skills that has already proven to be very beneficial in the preliminary stages of Doe Mountain’s development.

Teaching GIS, or Geographic Information Systems, Delahunty recently used the mountain as the basis for one of her classes. Working with six graduate level students either pursuing their masters or doctoral level degrees, the class gathered data from the best available sources, such as the US Geological Survey, and packaged it into a layer of maps displaying everything from soil and vegetation types found on the property to listings for adjoining property owners and proposed existing trails.

Additionally, preliminary work was also done to look at the various aspects of the mountain to determine where some of the better trail routes might also be located in the future. Delahunty’s maps already show more than 25 miles of potential trails in existence, and with the ability to modify, alter, and rename trails as the Doe Mountain Board of Authority makes decisions, the information can be continuously updated.

This work forms the basis of one of the most complex and expensive portions of developing a master plan for the mountain, and for that reason Delahunty’s extensive work is a very generous gift to the project. With the Doe Mountain Board of Authority now holding regular monthly meetings, Delahunty is certain to be an invaluable asset to the board members in the future.

Doe Mountain was the subject of a separate discussion at the meeting as well when Commissioner Jerry Grindstaff gave a report to the board concerning the decisions of this month’s planning commission. One of the big topics at that meeting was a discussion of the remaining private lots that make up the Charter Ridge subdivision located on top of the mountain.

The only pieces of property to be sold from the original Daniel’s Trace project that went into foreclosure which ultimately led to the state’s purchase of the property, has had an ongoing issue with a remaining bond of over $300,000 dating back to 2006. While Grindstaff did not elaborate on the planning commission’s actions, he did note that there was an effort by the commission to be decoupled from the subdivision. Grindstaff went on to advise the members of the county board that the issue has had a long, complex history and should be looked at very closely before a final opinion is made.

Aaron Cornett, one of the property owners in the subdivision, was also present at the meeting to request that the board review the planning commission’s recommendations and delay any decision until more research could be done concerning the subject. While no direct action was taken, county attorney Bill Cockett did announce that because he had represented both the landowners and the county on the issue in the past, as well as several other interested parties, he did not feel it would be appropriate to comment on the issue, citing it as a possible conflict of interest.

Having presented the commission with a copy of an essential portion of the county’s recently updated hazard mitigation plan, Johnson County Emergency Management Director Jason Blevins requested that the county adopt a resolution approving the document. Originally adopted back in 2005, the plan is essential for the county to receive assistance from the state and federal governments in the advent of a natural disaster or emergency such as the tornado that struck two years ago.

Blevins recently submitted the same plan to the Mountain City Town Council who also approved its adoption. Most of the 300 plus pages of the document list demographic data for the county including information on emergency services such as police, fire, and EMS, as well as population and information on other services such as schools.

The section submitted to the commission specifically listed the various hazards that are present in the county, ranging from the potential for a winter snowstorm to seasonal flooding and indicated updated information on how much potential risk there is for a particular occurrence. Because of the important role the plan can have in securing emergency funds in case of a disaster, Commissioner Mike Taylor made the motion to approve the resolution adopting the plan, which passed unanimously.

County Mayor Larry Potter presented a request by the Tennessee State Daughters of the American Revolution who would like to replace one of the original Daniel Boone Trail Markers in the Trade Community. Along with several other markers in the county including one in Laurel Bloomery, Butler, and at Shouns Crossroads, the monument was originally placed at the turn of the 20th century. First located near the North Carolina line, the group would like to install the new marker on the grounds of the Trade Community Center and Grist Mill.

Potter explained that there would be no cost to the county, and that the group would do all the work and installation. With no objections to the project, Commissioner Jerry Grindstaff made the motion to approve the request and was seconded by Commissioner Dean Stout. The motion passed unanimously.

To read the entire article, pick up a copy of this week's Tomahawk.