Pam Ladd Waiting Until End To Decide On "Chattanooga Village"

Monday, December 17, 2012

District 3 City Councilwoman Pam Ladd said Monday night she is waiting until all the information is in about the proposed $100 million "Chattanooga Village" until deciding how to vote.

She hosted a public hearing on the controversial topic to a large crowd at City Hall on Monday night.

The City Council is set to vote Jan. 8 on the 190-acre office, retail and apartment project at Highway 153 and Boy Scout Road.

Ms. Ladd said, "I need to wait until all the information is in. Things can change. This project has changed many times and it could change again."

Rick Hill of Bardstown, Ky., told the group about 70 businesses will be located at the development, though he said filling up the retail make take some time. He said the "village type" development is designed to be "flexible" and meet changing retail needs.

Some 2,000 employees will be at the site when it is fully developed and the annual tax contributions will be around $2 million, he said.

Roland Ebert, another expert brought in to redo the plan and make it more environmentally friendly, said the hilltops will be left, though there will be "a little bit of grading" at the top for the roadway.

There is to be a restaurant at the top of one hill.

Attorney Joe Conner, who represents the North Chickamauga Creek Conservancy, said he was told that TDOT has not given any approvals related to an entrance onto Highway 153.

City Traffic Engineer John Van Winkle said some traffic issues remain unresolved.

Members of the audience wondered what will happen to the wildlife at the site and noted that a 2005 TWRA study listed 18 acres at the site as a critical environmental area.

Developer Duane Horton said not all the financing has been firmed, though he said he is in talks with investment firms, pension firms and private equity investors.

No large tenant will commit until the zoning has been secured, the audience was told.

Several questioners wanted to know why the project is being "rushed through" and said there should be a delay until traffic issues are clarified.

The site is owned by Jack Lonas, who has a house on the wooded property.     

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