ELIZABETHTON — The Elizabethton Planning Commission greeted the city’s new director of planning during a short session Tuesday evening.
Jon Hartman, who has served as interim director of planning since Oct. 1, announced to the board that the interim has been removed from his title and he is now officially the planning director for the city.
He said he was informed by City Manager Fred Edens on Friday that he had been chosen as the new director. He said only his staff and department heads were aware of Edens’ decision until Hartman announced it to the Planning Commission on Tuesday night. He said all of the city’s department heads will receive the news today.
Hartman succeeds David Ornduff, who retired Sept. 30 after 28 years of service to the city. Hartman is a native of Northwestern Ohio and is a 2009 graduate of Milligan College. He began working for Elizabethton while still in college, working as a summer intern for then-City Manager Russell Treadway. He continued working for the city when Edens replaced Treadway. Ornduff hired him to serve as a community planner once he graduated.
Hartman said he was pleased the “interim” tag has been removed from his title and said “I enjoy my job.”
Planning Commission Chairman Victor Deloach praised Hartman, saying “he has done a great job over the past two years.”
It was a light agenda for Hartman’s first meeting with the planners since his promotion. The only matter considered was to give site plan approval for a new 48-space parking lot in the northwest section of the Elizabethton Church of Christ property. The site is now a grass field between the church and the UPS store.
The church’s elders appeared before the planners to present the site plan. Elder Dale Fair, former mayor of Carter County and current director of the First Tennessee Human Resource Agency, spoke for the church.
He said 55 cars parked in the church-owned grass field across C Street from the church this past Sunday. He said the church hopes to consolidate all of its parking on the block in which the church sanctuary stands so children and elderly members do not have to cross dangerous C Street. One of the elders who attended Tuesday’s meeting knew the dangers. He had a child who suffered two broken legs when hit by a car while crossing C Street to the church when he was 5 or 6.
Fair said he has discussed the plans with the planning staff and there is only one disagreement. Fair said a curb cut was needed from the new parking lot onto Broad Street. He said the church was agreeable to having the curb cut restricted to only right turns in and right turns out.
Hartman said the planning staff is interested in having steady traffic flow on Broad Street. Additional curb cuts cause disruptions in the steady flow, he said.
Seeing the mood of the planners on the question, Hartman said if the commissioners wanted to grant the curb cut, that it be restricted to right turns only and that the cut be designed to make left turns difficult.
Mayor Curt Alexander then made the motion to approve the site plan with the curb cut. It passed unanimously.