published Wednesday, August 14th, 2013

Chattanooga City Council denies apartment complex bid

Chattanooga City Hall
Chattanooga City Hall
Meghan Brown


• City also denied a request to rezone property on Montview Drive for housing units.


• Board of the Office of Multicultural Affairs -- Gladys Pineda-Loher, Nicholas Siler, Nandini Makrandi, Jocelyn Loza, Rebecca Clay-Flores and Teletha McJunkin.

• Chattanooga Housing Authority Board -- Jim Levine

• Air Pollution Control Board -- Anj McClain

• Beer and Wrecker Board -- Joe Ramsey

Chattanooga officials denied a developer's plan to build a 260-apartment complex in East Brainerd and took steps to eliminate the project altogether.

An out-of-town developer already had approval from City Council in 2009 to build a 10-acre complex with 184 apartments, but when Continental Properties Co. came before the City Council on Tuesday to approve additional zoning for 76 more units, officials rejected the request.

After a 7-2 vote, the Council squeaked out another vote to send the project back to the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Regional Planning Agency and requested the agency rezone the property, making the project void.

The vote came after multiple residents came forward complaining of traffic congestion on Gunbarrel Road and concerns about water drainage. One resident said his garage flooded from water runoff at another nearby apartment development.

"It's going to be a nightmare and I ask you not to do this to us," said Pat Bell, an East Brainerd resident.

After the vote, development director Eric Thom stormed out of City Hall and declined to comment on the council decision.

The development by the Wisconsin-based company was to include 11 two-story buildings, a clubhouse and a pool at the corner of Gunbarrel Road and Pinewood Drive.

The changes to the project were approved by the planning commission in July after the group did a traffic study and found the project wouldn't increase congestion on the busy road.

Before the council rejected the rezoning request, several City Council members had questions about a previous plan to widen part of Gunbarrel Road to Shallowford Road. But Transportation Department director Blythe Bailey couldn't answer questions in the 2015 capitol budget for whether the project still exists.

Councilman Chip Henderson asked for more time to find out whether the administration planned to fund the road expansion project, but his motion died for lack of a second.

Four council members, Ken Smith, Jerry Mitchell, Henderson and Larry Grohn, opposed sending instructions to the joint city and county planning commission to rezone the property, which would deny the 2009 already approved complex project.

When asked why Mitchell voted against the second motion. He said it's a simple reason: "I'm worried about a lawsuit."

Contact staff writer Joy Lukachick at or 423-757-6659.

about Joy Lukachick Smith...

Joy Lukachick Smith is the city government reporter for the Chattanooga Times Free Press. Since 2009, she's covered crime and court systems in North Georgia and rural Tennessee, landed an exclusive in-prison interview with a former cop convicted of killing his wife, exposed impropriety in an FBI-led, child-sex online sting and exposed corruption in government agencies. Earlier this year, Smith won the Malcolm Law Memorial Award for Investigative Reporting. She also won first place in ...

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