City Council Votes 5-3 To Deny Rezoning For $100 Million Chattanooga Village Project

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The City Council voted 5-3 on Tuesday night to deny rezoning for the $100 million Chattanooga Village retail, office and residential project in Hixson.

Opposed were Pam Ladd, Jack Benson, Manny Rico, Sally Robinson and Peter Murphy. In favor were Andrae McGary, Russell Gilbert and Carol Berz. Deborah Scott was absent.

Ms. Ladd, the District 3 representative, said there was strong opposition from Hixson residents to the project at Highway 153 and Boy Scout Road.

Attorney Joe Conner, speaking for the North Chickamauga Creek Conservancy, said developer Duane Horton had declined to go along with several of the group's requests, including phased zoning of the property starting with apartments and setting aside conservation easements.

Mr. Horton said afterward, “We didn’t leave anything on the table, and were consistent about addressing every issue the community and council members had. Our team is very confident that Chattanooga Village would have made a significant positive impact in Hixson, and, unfortunately, we will not have the opportunity to see those plans unfold at this time.

“We had hoped to see a development that was unique to the Chattanooga area, and that would offer attractive options to newcomers and those already living in the area. We are going to re-evaluate all options available at this point, which may include selling the property.”

He said immediate plans for the land, which is zoned R-1 for single-family homes, have not been determined.

 

Mr. Horton said the project would not be feasible in phases and could be better planned as an overall project. He said 68 acres would be set aside as green space and would eventually be placed under conservation easements.

 

Ms. Ladd noted there had been "a lot of money" battling for and against the rezoning, including the hiring of attorneys and PR firms.

 

Mr. Horton said the plan was to start immediately on the apartments that would be ready by 2015. He said 70,000 square foot of retail space would open in 2015. He said a retail village would be ready by 2016 or 2017. Corporate offices were planned by 2018.

He said there had been 18 public meetings on the project and five major redesigns. He said a number of changes were made due to resident concerns.

Rick Hill, a retail expert from Bardstown, Ky., said a feasbility study was completed in early November and it showed that the retail component would work. He stated, "There is a clear market for a new urbanism market in Chattanooga." He said the retail village "would attract dynamic new retailers to the market."

Attorney Conner said, "It's great to come down from Bardstown, Ky., and say it will work," but he said there are numerous empty commercial buildings and land in Hixson, including across Highway 153 at The Fountains, with which Mr. Horton has been involved.

He said there needed to be a remote access road for fire safety, but that was not in the plan.

Ellie Wallis, who said 2,800 people signed petitions in opposition, said Mr. Horton "makes grandiose promises," but would not back them up in writing. She said there was no assurance "this won't end up as a boondoggle."

She said the developer had not gone along with the city's request on stormwater retention on the project. John Bridger of the Regional Planning Agency said the initial requirement was for stormwater retention of 1.6 inches, but he said that was a mistake because the 1.6 inches applies to South Chickamauga Creek, not North Chickamauga Creek. He said Mr. Horton wound up agreeing to a one-inch standard for the commercial area and three-fourth of an inch elsewhere. Mr. Bridger said that meets current requirements, though he said the standard is due to rise to an inch.

Mr. Bridger said the staff had recommended approval with 33 conditions. He said there had been two recent meetings that involved both sides of the issue.

The hilly, 190-acre site near North Chickamauga Creek is owned by Jack Lonas. His attorney, Sam Elliott, urged approval.


Many Waldens Ridge Scenes Featured In Stokes Picture Book

A number of early views of Waldens Ridge are among the rarities found in the Stokes Photo Collection. There are many photos of the roads up the mountain showing streetcars, wagons and early autos. There are scenes at Rainbow Lake, Falling Water Falls, Signal Point and other scenic spots. Several photos are included of the Signal Mountain Hotel. The more than 700 photos ... (click for more)

Man Shot At Apartments On Tunnel Boulevard Wednesday Afternoon

Chattanooga police officers responded to the apartment buildings at 404 Tunnel Blvd. Wednesday at 1:21 p.m., where residents say they heard multiple shots fired.  Witnesses said they saw multiple suspects fleeing the scene on foot behind the complex.  The male victim was taken to a local hospital for life threatening gunshot wounds.  Chattanooga Police ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Has Lost Its Most Popular Citizen - Luther Masingill - And Response

Chattanooga has lost its most popular citizen – Luther Masingill. Although we are saddened we cherish the memories.  All of us have a Luther story.  Mine is the first time I met Luther.  This was before TV and all of Chattanooga listened to Luther on the radio.  I was 12-years-old.  Some of my buddies and I had gone to the State Theater in downtown ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Policeman’s Prayer

Every year, when the Law Enforcement Foundation of Greater Chattanooga holds its annual luncheon, it is one of the most heartening displays of what America really believes, down deep inside. The most prominent and influential leaders in the community – well over 1,000 -- gather to pay tribute and pledge their support to our heroes in blue who are unfaltering in their devotion, service ... (click for more)

Boyd-Buchanan Sweeps Loretto To Open Class A State Volleyball

(Story will be updated) MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – Playing what coach Alfie Dodd called a sub-par match, Boyd-Buchanan’s Lady Bucs were still good enough to sweep Loretto, 3-0, Wednesday in the opening match of the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association’s Class A state volleyball tournament at Blackman High School. Set scores were 25-19, 25-14, 25-20. With the ... (click for more)

Red Bank Loses In State Volleyball Opener

SMYRNA, Tenn. – The TSSAA State Volleyball tournament didn’t start off like the Red Bank Lionettes would have liked. Facing the Lady Irish from Knoxville Catholic here at Stewarts Creek High School in the first match Wednesday morning, the Lionettes never got comfortable and lost in three sets, falling by scores of 25-16, 25-13 and 25-19. Red Bank got an ace from Allison Walker ... (click for more)