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From salt bins to burst pipes, commissioners had a full slate to work on

At the beginning of their meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 17, Anderson County commissioners recognized the passing of one of their own before tackling expenditures and zoning issues.

Commissioners observed a moment of silence in memory of former Commissioner Harry C. (Whitey) Hitchcock III, who passed away Jan 10. Hitchcock served three terms as commissioner and was also a teacher at Clinton High School.

Commissioner Shelly Vandagriff read a proclamation making Jan. 11 Human Trafficking Awareness Day. The purpose of the proclamation was to promote awareness, legislation and community-wide response, as well as reflection upon the resilience, courage and perseverance of human trafficking survivors in the community.

Commissioners changed the zoning from A-2 (Rural-Residential District) to I-2 (Heavy Industry District) on property at 3433 Lake City Highway, Rocky Top, in order to allow Brian Sellars to operate an equipment shop for his paving company.

Another request on the agenda was a rezoning from A-2 (Rural Residential District) to A-1 (Agriculture-Forestry District) for property at 122 Mountain Side Lane, Rocky Top. The proposed change would allow owner Thomas Gross to operate an RV park with less than 10 sites. However, commissioners had several unanswered questions, so they voted to defer action for 30 days.

Keith Rice addressed the commission, stating that the required 15-day public notice was not given before a rezoning action taken by the commission in November to allow for the construction of a Dollar General Store on Oliver Springs Highway. Commission chair Joshua Anderson said he would look into the matter with county staff and get back to Rice.

The recent freezing weather caused extensive damage to the drive-through in the Jolley Building, as well as to several schools. In the Jolley Building, there was a power failure causing the heat to go out and allowing water pipes to freeze. The water sprayed for at least 24 hours, causing extensive damage to equipment and to the building. Commissioners approved expenditure of $23,356 to replace damaged equipment and $44,787 for repair of the building. Any of those expenses not covered by insurance would be paid from the fund balance.

Burst water pipes also caused extensive damage to books and other furnishings in various schools as well as structural damages. Commissioners approved an expenditure of $25,000 for these repairs. The money was to come from funds earmarked for capital outlay.

The Slover chimes will soon be heard once again. Commissioners approved an expenditure of $18, 635 for design, fabrication and installation of a master control system to include a digital bell-ringing controller and a new electrical panel. This money was to come from the unassigned fund balance. Plans call for an annual contract of $1,345 to be included in each budget for cleaning and servicing of each bell and striker and adjustment and testing of unit and bells.

Blankenship and Partners was awarded a $30,000 contract to design and oversee construction of a new animal shelter.

Commissioners passed a resolution to TDOT recommending against establishment of a storage facility at Interstate 75, Exit 128, in Rocky Top. Kerry Templin, mayor of Rocky Top, spoke in opposition to the TDOT facility. He said the property was ideal for commercial development and he feared the storage facility would take the place of potential commercial development. He said the state owns an unused rest area a mile to the north on I-75 that could be used instead.

Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank said that at the beginning of this process, she had written to TDOT in favor of the site.

Archie Burress was named to the Zoning Appeals Board was a term ending September 2027.