published Tuesday, August 13th, 2013

Chattanooga city planners OK subdivision, reject apartments

City planners approved a proposed $7 million townhome and apartment development in East Brainerd at the Chattanooga Hamilton County Regional Planning Commission meeting Monday.

The development at the corner of Petty Road and Southerwood Drive will include 38 townhome units on the south side of Petty Road and an additional eight rental units on the north side of the road, spokesman Glen Meadows told the commission.

The townhomes would sell for about $169,000 and be built around a new U-shaped road through the lot. Each unit will have a two-car driveway, according to the site plan. The development would replace several mobile homes.

"The total current tax base for that area is $1,800 for a year," he said. "With this proposed 38 units, we're talking about increasing the city tax base to $34,000. That's based on the market value of what we're trying to do."

Regional Planning Agency staff recommended denying the proposal, arguing that the development will not fit well with the surrounding neighborhood and emphasizing that the density is higher than the standard recommended by the East Brainerd Corridor Community Plan.

Neighbor Joe Perry presented a petition to the planning commission against the project that was signed by more than 60 people worried about property values and traffic.

"We'd love to see that cleaned up and those trailers moved out as he promised, but we think a development that is more in line with our neighborhood would be more preferable for all the people who have signed this petition not to grant the rezoning," he said.

But commissioners pointed out that under the site's current R-5 zoning, Meadows is already cleared to build duplexes on the site with just as many or more units.

"We're dealing with the devil we know we have and the devil we could get," member Don Moon told Perry. "This may not be a bad alternative for you."

The commission gave initial approval for the planned development, and the case will go before the Chattanooga City Council for approval on Sept. 10.

Planners oppose Hixson project

Residents of a Hixson neighborhood showed up in force at the meeting Monday to protest a proposed 130-unit apartment complex at 4815 Hixson Pike and won a victory when city planners voted to recommend the project for denial by the City Council.

Developer Tim McClure said he hopes to build a high-end apartment complex with one- and two-bedroom units renting for $950 to $1,350.

The developer's plan calls for a clubhouse, pool and 224 parking spaces. But about 40 neighbors showed up to protest the plan, arguing that the complex would snarl traffic, reduce property values and increase noise and light pollution. Friends of Hixson steering committee member Wes Kliner suggested that the complex could not support the planned high-end rental rates.

"Such pricing is more closely associated with rental rates being charged in the downtown Chattanooga and North Shore areas, where such rates are at a premium," he said, reading from a prepared statement. "We are concerned that such plans, if true, displays a lack of understanding of the rental market in the proposed area."

Re/Max broker Jason Farmer responded that developers had carefully studied the rental market.

"Maybe we have a little more faith in the market in Hixson than some of these folks, but we feel like we'd be operating at 95 percent plus occupancy when the project is completed," he said.

After receiving the no vote, Farmer said his team would take a step back and regroup before the decision heads to the City Council on Sept. 10.

Contact staff writer Shelly Bradbury at sbradbury@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6525.

about Shelly Bradbury...

Shelly Bradbury covers police and crime in Chattanooga and Hamilton County for the Times Free Press. She's been with the paper since 2012, working first as an intern and then as a business reporter. She is from Houghton, New York, and graduated from Huntington University in Huntington, Indiana, with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and minor in management. Before moving to Tennessee, Shelly previously interned with The Goshen News, The Sandusky Register and The Mint ...

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