posted October 17, 2011 Source: http://www.chattanoogan.com/articles/article_211445.asp A group of Ooltewah residents is discussing starting a new city in the wake of a new proposal to reopen the Urban Growth Plan.
Officials said, “With the recent decision by Chattanooga Mayor Ron Littlefield to amend the county’s urban growth plan, it’s apparent that residents of unincorporated areas in Ooltewah north to the county line will have to make some choices soon. It’s likely many parts of currently unincorporated areas will not remain unincorporated for long.
“In the face of uninvited encroachment from Chattanooga, Ooltewah area residents have a decision to make. Will they sit back and be shut out of the decision-making process while Chattanooga’s mayor and City Council annexes their property, driving up property tax rates nearly 90 percent and adding on other city taxes and service fees without seeing any appreciable differences or improvements in government services?
“Or will these same Ooltewah residents proactively support incorporation of a new city that will enable them to make decisions on what is best for their own community?”
Ooltewah community leaders said they are organizing a petition drive to incorporate a new city of Hamilton, which will include suburban areas within Ooltewah, Georgetown and Birchwood.
These leaders have coalesced into an organization called FriendsOfHamilton.org.
The drive is targeting the incorporation issue for the November 2012 general election.
A majority of the Hamilton County Commission will need to support the incorporation before it can appear on the ballot.
“We want to give citizens of Ooltewah a voice in their future,” said FriendsOfHamilton.org president Chris Matthews. “Mayor Littlefield won’t.”
Longtime Ooltewah resident Stan Burton said, “The timing for this initiative is perfect. With Mayor Littlefield’s recent request to amend the urban growth plan, I believe it is obvious that the Harrison, Ooltewah, and Georgetown areas of Hamilton County will soon be annexed. The citizens of the area now have a choice; the City of Chattanooga will not be the only option. This is an exciting opportunity for area citizens to determine the future of our local government.”
Other organizations supporting this effort include Ooltewah Citizens for Responsible Growth and Hamilton County Residents Against Annexation. Residents in Harrison, Birchwood, Georgetown and other nearby communities are also involved in this effort, it was stated.
For more information on this issue, go to FriendsOfHamilton.org.