Recommendations for approval of five new subdivisions were passed Monday afternoon at the monthly meeting of the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Regional Planning Commission. Developer Alan Haniszewski with RTB Holdings came to the meeting with developer Jim Storey to obtain zoning changes for two properties in North Chattanooga. Both lots have R-1 status (single family residential) which the commission voted to recommend changing to R-T/Z (residential townhouse/zero lot line zone).
Property at Druid Lane and Wallace Place consists of three lots and will need to be subdivided into four, 42-foot lots for the project to make financial sense, the commission was told. Two variance requests were also granted concerning the frontage and setback distance. Concerns about the drainage and sewer system were addressed by Mike Price, the engineer who is working with the developers. He told the commission that any issues in regard to water runoff would have to meet city codes, so he sees no need for concerns about the infrastructure. Additionally, Mr. Storey said that the plans for the houses to have back entrance garages came as a result of neighborhood requests. The staff recommended approval and the commission passed the motion to recommend.
A second North Chattanooga property on Worthington Avenue being developed by RTB Holdings also got the recommendation to convert three existing lots into four with the same setback and lot frontage variances. It was agreed that a water and mud runoff problem would be handled by building a divided and landscaped retaining wall no taller than 12 feet high behind the new buildings.
A housing development between Walsh and Whitehall Roads, also in North Chattanooga, drew a large crowd of neighbors in opposition. The owners/developers told the commission their plan to turn two existing lots into four and to reconfigure property lines. On a vote of eight for and seven against, it was voted to recommend the variance request. Current zoning in that neighborhood requires lot widths of 80 feet and the new proposal will alter the frontage to 60 feet to allow for four lots. Each would be 300 feet deep and would run from Walsh to Whitehall Road. Homes would be built on the Walsh end of the property. The developer said this was a family endeavor not a commercial one, since different family members were planning to build homes there.
Barry and Diane Evans came to the meeting to request a change from R-4 Special Zone to R-T/Z for their half acre lot at 402 Forest Ave. in Chattanooga’s North Shore district. Builder James Pratt, working with the Evans’. defended the original plan to have front garages on the proposed five houses because site conditions are not practical for rear entrance access that the planning commission staff asked for. After discussion the commissioners agreed to recommend approval for the zoning and variances required for the five homes which will have entrances on Manning Street. The stipulation was made that only single-family detached residences can be built on the property. The size of the houses are planned to be from 2,200 – 3,200 square feet.
A commercial venture on Harrison Pike got approval from the planning commission. The building is currently the office for the Homebuilders Association. A request to create an event venue on the first level requires a zoning change from R-4 Special Zone to C-2 Convenience Commercial Zone. It was agreed that recommendation would be made with the conditions that noise outside the building would be prohibited, times of operation would be between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m., ingress and egress would be controlled, and a landscape buffer would surround the property to shield residences.
Stephen Rogers got a recommendation of approval for a commercial development at 5200 Hunter Road and a change from A-1 to local business commercial district. This is proposed to be a small strip type development and a free standing bank. The developers will donate the right-of-way to the city, and limitations will preclude restaurants, liquor and adult stores among other restrictions.
The request by John and Sharon Cranwell to lift some restrictions to their property at 2600 Taft Highway in Walden was approved. This will allow uses other than the medical and professional offices that are there now. The owners want to have the ability to offer space for low-traffic generating retail businesses.
A residential Planned Unit Development on Templeton Lane and the conversion of a garage into two apartments at 6811 McCutcheon Road were both voted to recommend.
Another recommendation to deny came for Jess Watkins, Jr. for his property at 12328 Red Clay Road. The existing zoning is A-1. Mr. Watkins runs a sawmill, timber, mulch and topsoil business on the site. He told the commission that all the materials came from clearing his own farmland. However, when asked, he told them his grandson ran a business that brings logs and mulch to the property then sells and delivers it. According to the many neighbors that came in opposition, the area has large lots, nice houses and has always been quiet until this business began. Now the neighbors have to deal with noise, fires that start in mulch piles and the odors they cause and large logging trucks on narrow roads. They described the site as an eyesore of mulch, dirt, rocks and dead trees. The board denied the change to M-4 Outdoor Industrial Use to restrict the activity. This will come before the County Commission on Nov. 21 and any interested citizens were told to attend that meeting.
A proposed RV court and mini-warehouses project at 2500 Igou Ferry Road was deferred to the next planning meeting in November. Additional study is needed for sewer and septic requirements, landscape requirements and the determination of inclusion for any cabins and dorms that may be needed on the large 40-acre site. The original plan as requested by TVA is to house temporary workers from six months to two years. The commission needs clarification of time limits that would be allowed, since the current ordinance stipulates a stay of no longer than 90 days.
A denial was also made for the second request to re-zone 906 E. 10th Street from R-1 to R-3, which would allow owner Ericka Stearns to convert the building into four apartments. She said the property was built in 1928 for use as a multi- family rental and has been used as such until the R-3 zoning was changed under the ownership of Chattanooga Neighborhood Enterprises. The MLK neighborhood association voted against allowing the conversion into the multiple units which would need 16 parking spaces. The property has no private parking and no back yard, so would not function as a single-family residence, said Ms. Stearns. The board moved to deny the request. It will go on to the City Council meeting Nov. 13.
The city of Chattanooga was given the approval to dispose of five surplus properties. Discussion occurred on only the property at East 23rd and South Willow Streets. The 4.6 acres and former Army Reserve Center has been offered to both the city and county with no takers. A playground, complete with a batting cage and swing sets, is already on the back of the land. An interested citizen from the Oak Grove neighborhood came to the meeting to request that this portion of the property be converted to a city park with soccer fields. She also proposed that the building be used as an art center. The issue with doing that is the cost to buy it, she was told. The city park idea is viable and County Commissioner Joe Graham told her that he could contribute some discretionary money to help get it going.