published Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

Panel would flatten Brainerd IHOP plan

Should zoning be changed to allow an ihop to be built on Gunbarrel road?

Not a single city planner wants pancakes cooked on the west side of Gunbarrel road.

The Chattanooga-Hamilton County Regional Planning Agency voted unanimously against a zoning change that would allow an Ihop to be built across from the Target shopping plaza.

"[An Ihop] is so obviously wrong," said Jack Benson, city councilman and planning agency member. "It's right in the heart of our land use plan. If we had approved that, it would have set the precedent so that we would have to approve commercial [projects] all the way down to East Brainerd Road."

But Patrick Neuhoff, president of Neuhoff Taylor Architects which helped design the Ihop project, said the agency already approved eight similar rezonings in the area without any thought of negative domino effects.

Neuhoff said the project already has approval from those living behind the property, and its location across the street from restaurants such as Chick-fil-A and Panara makes for a unique set a circumstances inapplicable to future projects.

"The only objection that was viable was it didn't fit in the plan," he said. "It's really not a solid issue. The plan is a guide; it's not a Bible."

Because agency members already had spoken out against the project, Neuhoff said he expected them to turn down the proposal.

"You ask a surgeon how to fix something -- they're going to cut," he said. "You ask planners to look -- they're going to go to the plan."

Bassam Issa, the property's developer, said he took the agency's unanimous denial and lack of any questions on the proposal as a sign the group wants to pass the decision up the ladder to the Chattanooga City Council, whose members will have the final say on the issue in December.

Issa and Neuhoff plan to present their case to the council. They hope the council will see the arguments they've already made and the potential tax revenue increase as reason enough to approve the project.

But Benson doesn't expect the council will allow a restaurant in the office-zoned area near Erlanger East.

"I don't foresee that anyone will vote for it," Benson said. "It wouldn't bring in tax monies any better and not as good as an office. A medical office would bring in better salaries as well as better taxes."

Contact Carey O'Neil at or 423-757-6525.

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KWVeteran said...

The Chattanooga-Hamilton County Regional Planning Agency is unanimously wrong. What have they been drinking?

November 15, 2011 at 7:10 a.m.
Czech123 said...

"I don't foresee that anyone will vote for it," Benson said. "It wouldn't bring in tax monies any better and not as good as an office. A medical office would bring in better salaries as well as better taxes."

And THIS is why they won't apporve it. Not enough money will come if from taxes. How many more doctors offices do we possibly need on Gunbarrel Rd? It's all about tax $$$$$ to them.

November 15, 2011 at 9:24 a.m.
littlebrains said...

hum littlebrains Jr speaks-- actually he is no brains!! jack benson quit trying to screw up chattanooga and check back into your dementia clinic. who really cares what is out there its a big conglomerated mess anyway. i avoid the whole area like a plague-- thats why no doctors want to have offices there. cant get anywhere quickly there so why be there. be thankful some fool wants to build there and let them!!

November 15, 2011 at 11:56 a.m.
Salsa said...

It will be VERY interesting to see what eventually does get approved for this parcel after the IHOP is denied. That approval will tell us what really is going on here.

They have already deviated from the original use plan several times so that is definitely not the real issue.

November 15, 2011 at 7:55 p.m.
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