MPO coordinator Greg Thomas spread out maps of the proposed boundaries that had been updated based on 2010 census data.
Committee members then made recommendations to other areas that should be included within the Urbanized Area, also called the UZA, or the Metropolitan Planning Area.
“The UZA has to be updated with every … census, it pertains only to transportation funding. One of the things we want to make sure happens with the UZA is areas that are proposed [for] development [when a proposal comes in], we want to make sure it’s already within the UZA,” said Kevin Herrit of the Tennessee Department of Transportation.
He said having the land within the area allows funding to be released for the road development.
Thomas said existing development and plats that indicate future development were used to construct the new lines being proposed.
Changes to the boundaries are made along “functionally classified roads” and use such roads as boundaries. (These roads have been classified based on the type and use of the roads.)
“What we did for example, in the east side of the county going out Waterlevel Highway, the Urbanized Area as defined by the census really goes out there pretty far, about where we have it [on the proposal map.] Then more or less what we did was follow a functionally classified roadway back up to the north to the Charleston area, and on into Calhoun, where we followed the city limits of Calhoun on the east side then we went basically down the next functionally classified roadway, which is 163 to Interstate 75 and encompassed I-75,” Thomas said.
Including part of Harrison Pike in the boundary was also discussed since a bridge project is planned for the area.
“I do think that moving [the Urbanized Area boundary] on out Georgetown Road all the way to the Hamilton County line, given my knowledge of where Chattanooga sees they will have to promote economic growth, would make sense,” said Doug Berry, Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce vice president for economic development.
He said plans are already being laid for widening that portion of Highway 60 and long-range strategic planning has the area marked as a good site for development.
“We are building a major connecting arterial road. … We are already seeing activity on the edge of the city with utility infrastructure,” Berry said.
Berry noted that 300 acres near that section of Georgetown Road are already owned by a manufacturing family.
Chattanooga, according to Berry, is planning an industrial park on the northern end of that city. He said this could make the undeveloped land on Georgetown Road near the county line a good place for development within the next 10 years.
The committee will submit recommended changes to the MPO board during a meeting on May 7.