BY DAVID FISHER
GLEASON (March 21) — The Gleason City Board approved the first reading of three zoning ordinance amendments regulating the location of mobile homes, as recommended by the recently-formed Gleason Planning Commission.
At the request of Mayor Charles Anderson, Gleason Planning Commission Chairman Monte Bowers addressed the board regarding the details of the ordinances.
Bowers stated the ordinance amendments being presented deal almost exclusively with mobile homes, but there are other amendments to city ordinances being developed that will be presented at future meetings.
Bowers began by reading a letter from Northwest Community Development District Community Planner Donnie Bunton, which explains that the proposed zoning ordinances would change the way mobile homes are regulated throughout the City of Gleason.
The letter states, presently, the only allowance for mobile homes is for those placed on individual lots in R-1A (medium density residential) and R-2 (high density residential) districts. However, Bowers noted there is no R-1A district on the city’s zoning map. He said, “It’s vague and unclear what was intended when it was created some time ago.”
The ordinance amendments recommended by the planning commission would accomplish the following:
- The allowance of mobile homes in R-1A and R-2 districts would be eliminated and would not be permitted on appeal.
- A new zoning district designated as R-3 (mobile home residential) would be created. In R-3 districts, mobile homes would be allowed, but only in mobile home parks. Additionally, any proposed mobile home parks would have to meet several strict criteria prior to approval.
- The existing mobile home park on Carlton Circle would be rezoned to R-3.
- Another ordinance amendment would rezone property owned by Jeff and Jeanne Leach, located at 101 Moore Cir., from R-2 to R-3.
The passage of the three proposed zoning ordinance amendments would have the effect of limiting mobile homes to the one existing mobile home park in town. Any future mobile home parks at other locations could only be proposed upon those properties undergoing a rezoning to the R-3 designation.
Bowers noted the city has the option of designating an area as an R-3 zone for mobile homes, in the future. But it would have to come before the planning commission and the board.
Mayor Anderson stated, in the past, there were cases where mobile homes were placed on lots in R-1 and R-2 zones, which are not zoned for them. The mayor explained the ordinances proposed at Monday night’s meeting are not an attempt to remove mobile homes from properties where they are already in place. However, if the time ever comes when a mobile home needs to be replaced or the residence is destroyed in a fire (or by other means), another mobile home cannot be set up at the site, since they are not in an R-3 zoning district.
According to NWCDD Community Planner Donnie Bunton, who works with eight cities in four counties, these ordinances are patterned after those enacted in other towns to regulate mobile homes. The ordinances limit new applications to mobile home parks, which would be zoned R-3 for mobile homes. But the zoning regulations would prohibit mobile homes being placed on individual lots inside the city limits.
Mayor Anderson stated the planning commission is currently reviewing all of the city’s ordinances, chapter-by-chapter, relating to zoning. “Probably, we’re going to come back every month with an amendment of some type,” he said. “Our zoning ordinances haven’t been updated since 2004, and there has been a lack in enforcement.”
“In the end, we’re going to come back with a completely revised zoning ordinance and zoning map,” Bunton said. “A lot of businesses and other structures have come to Gleason during this time. There are probably at least 20 properties on the map that have not been brought up to date. That’s going to be fixed and the ordinances revised.” Bunton added, once the planning commission accomplishes this task, the revised zoning ordinances and zoning map will all be brought back to the board for its consideration at the same time.
City Attorney Beau Pemberton stated the zoning ordinances under consideration by the board are more restrictive regarding setbacks from property lines.
Additionally, Pemberton said, “It’s comparable with ordinances from other cities I’ve represented. Because, under Tennessee law, they are considered moveable-like cars and trucks until they are de-titled and attached permanently to the property, they are still considered to be a moveable structure.” He said the existing ordinances are not specific, and the revised ordinances “appear to do a lot of clean-up work and tighten up what we have.”
When the question was called on a motion to accept the amendments to the zoning ordinances, the measure passed 4 to 1 on first reading, with aldermen Tommy Hodges, Wade Cook and Mike Bennett voting “yes” and Alderman Keith Radford voting “no.”
A public hearing regarding the zoning ordinances will be held at the April board meeting, prior to vote by the board. These ordinances will be in effect upon second and final passage.
Gleason Fire Truck Grant
Gleason Fire Chief Mark Stafford requested the board approve a Community Development Block Grant application for a new pumper-tanker fire truck.
The chief stated the fire truck will cost approximately $392,000. He noted, if the CDBG grant is approved, it would cover $339,884 of the cost toward the purchase the fire truck, and the City of Gleason would be responsible for providing $52,116 in matching funds.
The old fire truck that is in need of being replaced is a 1989 Peterbilt with a 2,500 gallon tank. “We make repairs to the truck, pretty much every time we roll it to a fire,” Stafford said. “Fortunately, I have a son that does a lot of repairs for us and doesn’t charge for it. He added, that helps tremendously, but the truck is 33 years old and it’s about worn out.”
The new fire truck will have all of the latest technology, including: LED lights that are much brighter; and a backup-camera, so the driver can see behind the vehicle, which is far safer than using a firefighter to ground-guide the huge vehicles.
Mayor Anderson stated Gleason has American Rescue Plan money that could be used to help cover the city’s local match for the grant. “We have $204,000 and are expecting another $204,000 later this year. It’s in the Bank of Gleason now, and we haven’t spent a dime of it,” Anderson said. “I think it would be money well spent.”
The mayor said, “I feel like the funding is available and we owe it to the citizens of our town. Because it’s a tanker truck, we can take it to out-of-town fires as well.” The mayor stated the rural citizens in Gleason’s fire protection zone would also appreciate it. “They pay for fire protection when they pay their fee and they expect us to respond and respond with good equipment.”
“Good equipment enhances your fire department,” Mayor Anderson said. He added the firefighters are more enthused if they have good equipment to work with. “A new truck is always a welcome piece of equipment.”
“The last truck we got was in 2011,” Stafford said.
When asked about the model years of the other pieces of firefighting equipment and what they are used for, Stafford stated:
- Engine No. 1 is a 2011 Freightliner with a 1,250 gallon pumper and is the primary fire truck for in-town fires;
- Engine No. 4 is a Freightliner with a 1,250 gallon pumper used both in-town and out-of-town with a foam dispenser, which is the primary truck dispatched to vehicle fires;
- A service is truck utilized to haul excess equipment that can’t be hauled on a fire truck;
- And a 2016 brush truck with a 400 gallon tank, has a built-in foam dispenser, that’s used to extinguish grass fires.
Additionally, the fire chief stated he hopes to purchase air tanks costing $18,000 for the firefighters with a portion of the grant funding. He noted the tanks expire on March 8, 2023, and it’s mandatory that they be replaced, in accordance with National Fire Protection Association regulations. He noted, if Gleason does not get the grant, the air tanks will have to be purchased.
According to Stafford, the grant could not be approved until the fall of 2022.
A motion authorizing the city to apply for the CDBG to purchase the needed firefighting equipment was approve by unanimous vote.
Mayor Anderson Department heads will be having budget planning meetings later this month and early April. That will transition to budget meetings with the aldermen later in April. He mentioned the budget will hopefully be ready for consideration by the board by the May meeting. He added auditors are working hard to complete audits that are pending.
The mayor congratulated the Gleason Lady Bulldog Basketball Team for their outstanding performance and sportsmanship at the state tournament. He also commended head Basketball coach Mike Riggs and assistant coaches Luke Hughes and Sean Stephenson for their great leadership skills and for being great role models. He stated the school takes great pride in its academics and sports program. “We’re looking forward to an even better year next year,” Anderson said. He mentioned the Lady Bulldogs will be operating the concession stand at Mike Snider Park this summer, which benefits the team and the City of Gleason.
Park and Recreation Director Brian Legons reported that Monday, April 18, would be the first ballgame for the Summer Park Program. He stated 96 youngsters signed up for the Summer Recreation League, which is fewer than last year, but it’s still a good number.
The next board meeting is at 7 p.m. on Monday, April 18, at Gleason City Hall.