Members of AGC of East Tennessee are committed to the principles of skill, responsibility and integrity and support high standards of building practices that respect and protect the environment while balancing unfair, unnecessary over-regulation.
With the development boom in Chattanooga and an increase in construction projects on hillsides, the Regional Planning Agency of Hamilton County recently conducted an analysis of existing steep slope and floodplain regulations in Chattanooga in comparison to peer cities. Upon completion, RPA recently presented a slate of possible regulations to City Council that the organization feels would curb damage to surrounding property during and after construction. Here is a link to the executive summary of their findings and proposals:
A review committee of AGC members determined that, while much of what is included in RPA’s recommendations are good and fair building practices, there are several issues that were cause for concern that were recently voiced at a public meeting with City Council.
Enforcement. A lack of consistent enforcement by the city of the existing regulations may partly contribute to reported steep slope and floodplain development issues. AGC questioned if enforcement of the existing regulations could address the problems, and expressed concerns that if these new regulations are passed without an enforcement plan that we will continue to see more regulations proposed with the misguided hope of correcting bad behavior.
Permitting. Since the permitting process has become more expensive and challenging in recent years, AGC would like to see the process streamlined and expedited before introducing any new regulations that will further backlog the process.
Ambiguity. AGC requested removing any recommendations that involve aesthetics and materials selections by the city, which would be an infringement on private property rights. As an example, the recommendations suggest that the Land Disturbance Office would be authorized to select retaining wall materials, make tree removal decisions and mandate selective design decisions. We believe that those decisions should remain right of the property owner.
Practicality. AGC recommended that City Council consider the creation of a review committee consisting of architects, engineers and contractors to review the recommendations and ensure that what is being proposed is practical in the field.
City Council has stated that they will be reviewing the recommendations and input by the public, taking field trips to the peer cities with similar regulations, and continue receiving input over the next few months.