published Saturday, January 11th, 2014

264-unit apartments proposed on Bonny Oaks

An Alabama developer hopes to build a new 264-unit apartment complex off Bonny Oaks Drive in Chattanooga, just across the road from Amazon's fulfillment center.

Birmingham-based Arbour Valley Development will ask to rezone the 30-acre, wooded lot at 2848 Anderson Terrace at Monday's meeting of the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Regional Planning Commission.

Planners will issue either an "approve" or "deny" recommendation to the City Council, which will have the final vote on whether the plan gets the green light.

The complex, which is called "Arbours at Bonny Oaks" on plans submitted to the Regional Planning Agency, calls for 11 apartment buildings, a clubhouse with a pool, three ponds and a playground. Arbour Valley Development did not return requests for comment on the site, which is sandwiched between Tyner Academy, Silverdale Baptist Academy, Amazon's center and a slew of single-family homes.

The planning commission staff is in favor of the plan because multi-family housing fits well with the area, according to the report filed with the planning commission. But staffers also encouraged the developer to consider ways to mitigate the impact on the apartments' neighbors.

"By retaining much of the exisiting tree canopy, the applicant is providing a substantial buffer against the abutting lower density housing," the report reads. "Nevertheless, the RPA is suggesting that future iterations of the development plan pay special attention to mitigating negative impacts to the surrounding properties."

The site plan calls for 60 one-bedroom units, 132 two-bedrooms and 72 three-bedrooms, as well as 528 parking spaces.

Chattanooga's apartment market has been booming for the last few years in Chattanooga, with hundreds of new rental units coming on line and occupancy rates as high as 96.9 percent in mid-2012, according to Rock Apartment Advisors. But that hot market started to slow in the last 12 months, with both occupancy and rents decreasing slightly.

The decline could be the first whisper of an overbuilt rental market -- more apartment complexes are offering rent concessions this year than last, Rock Apartment Advisors reported.

As far as Arbours at Bonny Oaks, neighbor Wes Norris said he's not happy about the project. He's lived on Kirkman Road since 1975.

"Truth is, we don't need more apartments around here," he said. "I wouldn't be too crazy about it."

He said traffic in the area is already clogged, and despite a plan to widen Bonny Oaks between 2014 and 2017, he'd rather not see more changes in what was once a quiet neighborhood.

"I can already sit on my back porch and read a newspaper at 12 at night when [Silverdale is] playing a football game," he said, adding later, "The traffic right now is so terrible, it's crazy. And the street is going to be widened so it's going to be one heck of a mess."

Planners will consider the project at 1 p.m. in the Hamilton County Courthouse. The meeting is open to the public.

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

about Shelly Bradbury...

Shelly Bradbury joined the Times Free Press as a business reporter in January 2013, after starting with the paper as a general assignment intern in July 2012. 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 Hill Times. Outside the newsroom, Shelly enjoys ...

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