City officials are encouraging residents to participate in public meetings planned for Tuesday, Aug. 25, and Wednesday, Aug. 26. Those attending will divide into groups to de-velop ideas and drawings of what they want for the future of Lookout Mountain.
A key topic will be Chapelbrow, an planned assisted-living and retirement community that could increase Lookout Mountain’s population by 30 percent.
Mayor Tom Gifford said people from all concerned parties will participate in the meet-ings and comprehensive plan.
Also, an “alternative growth scenario” presentation will be held Thursday, Aug. 27, show-ing citizens three different possibilities developed by Walker Collaborative, according to City Council member Sandy Gothard.
The city in April hired Phil Walker of Walker Collaborative to review and update the city’s comprehensive plan.
Concern over Chapelbrow
Eighteen residents of Lookout Mountain recently held an organizational meeting for a va-riety of potential concerns over the Chapelbrow development.
Storm water problems have led to significant erosion and expense for Elmo Giddens, who lives in the Lookout Mountain community.
Giddens contends there was storm water runoff from a development at Fort Trace Road, causing erosion and damage to his property. Giddens said he has spent $40,000 trying to combat the effects of runoff.
Randy Whorton of Landscape Solutions, who worked on Giddens’ 10-acre property, spoke to the group about the long-term effects of storm water erosion.
Lookout Mountain has assessed the municipal sanitary system, but not the storm water runoff, according to Brad Haven, superintendent of sewer and water for Lookout Mountain.
Giddens’ problems could be a warning for Lookout Mountain residents if the proposed Chapelbrow development is built in its current configuration.
Havens said that any development would have to adhere to tougher current state laws, one of which requires a full hydrological study of a property prior to development.
Chapelbrow is a proposed community containing 150 to 200 single-family and multi-family homes for independent and assisted living.
“The plan Chapelbrow is bringing out is changing. It is a moving target. I have no idea — based on what is shown on their website — what they are going to do at Chapelbrow,” said Bill Glasscock, a local resident.
The development could increase the amount of residents on Lookout Mountain as much as 30 percent.
The group seeks to protect the community from the consequences of development such as traffic congestion and the loss of natural resources.
The aim is to “find a way to approach the city (officials) and make them listen to the resi-dents of Lookout Mountain,” Glasscock said.
Concern is about the precedent that Chapelbrow could set — “allowing the flood gates to open for other developments,” Gail Bryan warned.
A website has been developed for the group’s cause at www.lookoutforsmartgrowth.org.
According to the website, the residents are “not opposed to an assisted living facility on the Mountain nor are we opposed to development itself. But we would like for our growth as a town to be carefully considered and planned with the long range future of the community in mind rather than be authorized piecemeal, hastily, and without the full participation of all citizens.”