Michigan Ave. School buffer zone considered
by CHRISTY ARMSTRONG  Banner Staff Writer
Jan 28, 2014 | 1461 views | 0 0 comments | 24 24 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Bradley County Commission discussed recent happenings at the Museum Center at Five Points and the possibility of adding a buffer zone between Michigan Avenue Elementary School and a local home during its most recent work session Monday night.

Commissioner Charlotte Peak-Jones said Jim Metzger, who lives next to the Michigan Avenue School, has only a chain link fence separating his property from the school. 

She said he has complained about the lights and noise from school buses and cars traveling the school driveway on the other side of the fence.

Some types of zoning require there to be a buffer zone — an area with trees or fencing to provide extra privacy and noise — between a commercial property and a private residence. However, Peak-Jones said the requirement was not one that had to be followed when the school was built.

Bradley County director of planning Bently Thomas said there were about three different options the county could consider for a buffer zone, but the cost would depend on how much space needed to be covered.

Commissioner Adam Lowe said the school property is not only busy when parents are dropping off and picking up their children from school. Some activities like sports have also been taking place at night.

“It’s just a busy space, and chain link doesn’t block light or noise,” Lowe said.

After Commissioner Mel Griffith asked if the matter should be addressed by the Bradley County Board of Education, the Commission decided to refer the matter to its education committee. Because it is a school issue, commissioners said they may want the school board to address it as well.

Hassan Najjar, executive director of the Museum Center at Five Points, gave an update on how things had been going since he took on the job last March. Since then, he said the museum had seen “a complete 180” [turnaround] in how it operated.

Najjar said when he first became executive director, people had been complaining the museum was not functioning like most museums. Instead of focusing on adding more new exhibits, he said the museum’s main focus had been on making the museum available as an event venue.

Since last March, the museum has added a new exhibit hall that can be used to house a regularly changing exhibit.

Najjar also said the museum has “cut back on a lot of unnecessary spending” as it has been working to add new exhibits and programs.

“We’re doing quite well,” he said.

Still, he said the museum and its staff were still “waiting for people to come” and in need of the community’s support.

Jeff Morelock, the Commission’s representative on the museum’s board of directors, encouraged those in attendance to take advantage of the museum being in Cleveland.

The ongoing matter of how past liquor-by-the-drink tax revenues were to have been distributed to local school systems was also on the work session’s agenda.

Attorney James Logan Jr. was supposed to address the Commission on that issue. However, he was absent from the meeting, and the Commission only briefly discussed its position on the matter.

On Dec. 16 of last year, the Commission approved a resolution that waived any conflict of interest in the school board hiring Logan as its attorney. It also asked that the Commission be made aware of any legal proceedings to take place.

Though Commissioner Ed Elkins said Monday night that it would be “proper” to support whatever decision the school board makes, both Griffith and Lowe said they would like to have an idea of what the school board might do before whatever it is happens.

The Commission decided to take a second look at the previous resolution with the county’s current attorney to make sure everyone knew what the Commission’s role in the matter could be, and whether or not the school board had to seek the Commission’s approval before taking action.

Commissioners also discussed two zoning requests that had already been recommended for approval by the Bradley County Regional Planning Commission.

The rezoning of a property at 162 Helton Road and another at 2628 Dalton Pike are both set to be voted upon at the Commission’s Feb. 3 voting session.