Variance Board Approves Addition At Battery Place "Sow's Ear"

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The City Variance Board on Wednesday approved an addition at an apartment complex at historic Battery Place, though several neighbors objected to further altering the "sow's ear."

Jack McDonald, who lives next door to the complex at 525 Battery Place, said, "It was an is a sow's ear. This project is just making it a bigger sow's ear."

But Joseph V. Martin said owner Dr. Stephen V. Dreskin is converting the apartments into condos and making the building more attractive.

He said there would be the same 10 units and no additional bedrooms, but some 7,000 of new space was needed to be added to make the new floor plan work. The building, which drops down a bluff over 100 feet to near the Tennessee River, already has almost 15,000 square feet.

Mr. McDonald said when he moved to the neighborhood in 1983 there was an old brick home there with a large hole in the roof. He said he was unable to buy the old house, and it was torn down and replaced by the current building.

He said, "It was poorly constructed and is totally out of character with the historic neighborhood."

Darryl Silvey, who has lived at Battery Place for three decades, said, "This monstrosity ought to be bulldozed into the river - except it would pollute the river."

He added, "We are told they are adding 7,000 square feet and there will not be more people there - ha! ha!"

Mary Portera, who lives next door also, also expressed concerns.

Mr. Martin, who was accompanied by designer Happy Baker, said the apartments are now mainly occupied by college students and the new tenants will be "better quality" condo owners.

He said the project had been approved by the Historic Zoning Commission.

He said one neighbor, Jim Kennedy, welcomes the project.

Mr. Martin said, "Frankly, I don't understand the opposition. We are trying to do something extraordinary for the neighborhood."

The request was for a variance on a setback requirement on one end from 25 feet to four feet. It actually is already at 11 feet from the line at Lindsay Street.

The project will add eight feet to the structure on that end and four feet on the west end, which does not need a variance.

The request was approved by a vote of 5-3. Chairman Jim Hyatt was not required there was a majority already.

Jim Bob Wilson made the recommendation for approval, saying he felt it was an upgrading of the property.

He noted that with the area now being an official historic district "this kind of project would never have gotten off the ground in your neighborhood" had that been the case in the early 1980s.


HEB Board Approves PILOT For Chestnut Street Apartments

The city's Health, Education and Housing Facilities Board voted 6-1 on Wednesday in favor of a PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) for a $2 million apartment project on Chestnut Street. The five-story, 220-unit apartment building is planned on the Southside near Main. Officials of the Kore development firm said they carried out a similar project in Birmingham without a tax abatement. ... (click for more)

Affordable Housing Bill Passes General Assembly

A bill designed to address the need for affordable and workforce housing passed the Tennessee General Assembly on Monday.  The bill sponsored by State Rep. John Ray Clemmons (D-55), (HB 1174), will allow Nashville or any other metropolitan government to contribute real property to non-profits, such as the Barnes Fund for Affordable Housing, for the purpose of developing ... (click for more)

State Attorney General Says City Council Cannot Make Taxis Not Registered In Hamilton County Go Through Emissions Testing

The state attorney general's office has ruled that the City Council cannot require that taxis not registered in Hamilton County go through emissions testing. The city is dealing with the new Uber taxi service that has an out-of-town owner. Locally-owned cabs have to go through the annual emissions testing. The opinion says that local taxi owners cannot get around the emissions ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Area Bracing For Possibility Of Isolated Severe Storms, Tornadoes Not Ruled Out

The National Weather Service is feeling uncertain about today's weather pattern and has not ruled out the possibility of isolated, severe thunderstorms or an isolated tornado in our area. The greatest threat seems to be between 4 and 7 p.m. this evening. Below is the latest update: HAZARDOUS WEATHER OUTLOOK...UPDATED NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE MORRISTOWN TN 127 PM EDT SAT ... (click for more)

The Heart Of A Teacher Makes A Difference - And Response (2)

In less than four weeks, I expect to be one of 216 graduating seniors from East Hamilton School. One could say all possible variables help a student rise to the highest levels in school; but a student is more than his environment or genetic code. He is a mixture of his own propensity and dedication to academics, coupled with a systemic team of mentors who give their all as a student’s ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Would Mr. Summers’ Clients…

It was a beautiful day at Orange Grove Friday as the nationally-famed center, which cares for over 1,000 intellectually disabled children of all ages, celebrated its annual “Lunch of Champions” with a packed house in the Bucky Williams Gymnasium. Jerry Summers, who insiders know has done more for Orange Grove than any other man alive, not only emceed the event as he does every year, ... (click for more)