published Tuesday, September 10th, 2013

Chattanooga city planners OK Hixson subdivision expansion

City planners approved a Chattanooga developer's plan to expand a Hixson subdivision despite objections from neighbors at a Chattanooga-Hamilton County Regional Planning Commission meeting Monday.

Pratt & Associates plans to add a third phase to the Amber Brook Gardens subdivision along Cassandra Smith Road. The first phase is already developed and construction on the second phase should start within a month, developer James Pratt said.

And while the first two phases include solely single-family homes, Pratt may add townhomes to the third phase -- and that's what residents don't want to see. The plan calls for 23 townhome dwellings and 25 single-family homes in the final section of the subdivision. The townhomes will be built with either three or four units per building.

Neighbors against the expansion said they thought they were buying homes in a single-family neighborhood and didn't realize townhomes were a possibility.

"We were told there would be three phases, each with single-family homes," said neighbor Larry Bond. "We have spent a substantial amount of money to own our own homes. We're not opposed to phase three, we're opposed to having [housing] that will lower our property value."

Neighbor Lisa Perry said she was worried about traffic from the multi-family units.

"I'm going to live there 30 years and I chose that neighborhood because it is single-family homes," she said. "Don't join your townhome community to my single-family home community."

Pratt said the townhomes won't pull down property values.

"The townhomes we're proposing are in the same price range as the single family, and have the same look and feel as the single family," Pratt said. "In several of our developments, we've incorporated townhomes into single family and they fit in very well. All you're doing is giving the buying public some options."

He expects the townhomes to sell for between $215,000 and $275,000, while single family homes in the subdivision retail between $200,000 and $300,000.

The planning staff recommended approval of the plan and noted that the proposed density of the neighborhood is well below the maximum density of five units per acre, clocking in at 3.14 units per acre.

Staff also noted that the development's design puts the proposed single family homes next to existing single family homes and relegates townhouses toward the interior of the development.

"We've proven that when you do it right, the mixture of town- and single-family homes in a specific section works well," Pratt said.

The planning commission agreed, voting 7 to 2 to give initial approval on the plan. The case will go to the Chattanooga City Council on Oct. 8 for final approval or denial.

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

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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