Friday, October 31, 2014 · 10:59 a.m.
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Councilman Jack Benson at a City Council meeting. (Photo: Staff)

Chattanooga City Council members spent the majority of their Tuesday evening meeting focusing on zoning matters. 

For nearly an hour, the group discussed a rezoning request made by Defoor Brothers Development for a parcel of land located along Gunbarrel Road. Discussion on the measure was largely routine but became political when a candidate facing Councilman Jack Benson in District 4 accused the councilman of having a conflict of interest with the developer.

Larry Grohn, a regular attendee of council meetings, called on Benson to recuse himself from the vote on rezoning and to disclose campaign contributions from the developers. 

Benson did not respond to Grohn's comments, but Councilwoman Sally Robinson offered a stern response to the candidate, asking him to state for the record that he was facing Benson in the upcoming March 5 election. 

"I find your statements inappropriate in this forum," she said.

The council approved the resolution unanimously.

In other news, the council quickly approved a resolution that created a board structure and members for the newly formed Moccasin Bend Clean Water Authority. The five-member board will be filled with representatives from various regional associations with terms being staggered on a year-by-year rotating basis. 

The group approved the measure 8-1, with Councilwoman Deborah Scott casting the sole no vote.

The council also voted to deny a resolution that would have rezoned property located along Dodson Avenue to be used as a scrapyard. Multiple residents from the area attended the meeting Tuesday and voiced opposition to the proposal.

Despite previously being on the group's agenda for this week, the council did not consider a measure to approve $10,000 in budgeted funds to be put toward a roundtable television program sponsored by the Gang Task Force, focusing on mentoring relationships and at-risk youth. Boyd Patterson, task force coordinator, said he requested the resolution be pulled because he wanted to gather more information regarding the show before a vote took place. 

"I need to get some more information to build this out to the level that I want it," Patterson said. "I just want to explore and get some more information before taking it to the next level. I still want to do [the TV show] and think it's a great idea."

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