City Council Defers Action On Controversial "Chattanooga Village" For 2 Weeks

Tuesday, January 8, 2013
Developer Duane Horton
Developer Duane Horton

The City Council voted 8-1 Tuesday night to defer action for two weeks on the controversial $100 million "Chattanooga Village" project at Highway 153 and Boy Scout Road in Hixson.

Councilman Manny Rico, who cast the only no vote on deferral, had made a motion earlier to deny the rezoning for the 190-acre tract, and Councilman Jack Benson gave a second to deny.

Councilman Benson later said he would approve going ahead with the apartment portion of the requested rezoning now, but developer Duane Horton said he would have to check with landowner Jack Lonas.

Councilman Andrae McGary made the motion to defer and Councilwoman Pam Ladd, who represents the district, seconded. Ms. Ladd said there is strong feeling and "a lot of stress" in the community about the issue on both sides. 

She said, "This has brought a lot of passion and a lot of anxiety."

Developer Duane Horton, with two outside consultants, and resident Ellie Wallis and attorney Joe Conner had debated the issue before an overflow crowd in the City Council chambers.

Consultant Roland Ebert said the new plan for the project saves 100 percent of the hilltop along Highway 153 and over 90 percent along Boy Scout Road. He said the development is low density and protects 67 sloping acres.

Rick Hill said there is a sufficient demand for the 280 apartments, 250,000 square feet of office space and 500,000 square feet of commercial. He said it was "economically viable."

He said it would have a public green and town square along with wide sidewalks and be pedestrian friendly.

Mr. Horton said he had listened to the concerns of residents and made five major concessions. He said he is also willing to get insurance to cover liabilities of development and guarantee "that the hilltop will not be touched."

He said it would bring over 2,000 jobs and more than $2 million in new real estate taxes without cost to government.

City Traffic Engineer John Van Winkle said the traffic study was satisfactory. He said the developer agreed to put in a 300-foot turn lane along Highway 153.

Ms. Wallis said the community had had "very little actual input" on the project. She said she is against "growth simply for the sake of growth."

Attorney Conner, representing the North Chickamauga Creek Conservancy, said the project is missing a number of factors, including a feasibility study, timelines for development, conservation easements and performance bonds.

He said developer Horton was involved in the nearby Fountains project that he said still has 60 acres undeveloped.     

And he said Mr. Horton was a partner in the failed $100 million Canyon Ridge project on Lookout Mountain that wound up in litigation.

Attorney Conner said the NCCC turned in additional proposed project modifications to the Planning Agency on Friday, but he said he doubts the developer will agree to them.

There are already 25 restrictions on the development.

 

Attorney Joe Conner
Attorney Joe Conner

New Hiener Book Of Historic Chattanooga Photos Available At Zarzours

The new Paul Hiener Historic Chattanooga Photos book published by Chattanoogan.com is available at Zarzours Restaurant. Zarzours is located on the Southside on Rossville Avenue behind the Main Street Fire Hall #1. Mr. Hiener, a longtime Chattanooga printer and lifelong resident, collected over 3,000 historic pictures of his beloved hometown. He made some of the photos ... (click for more)

City Council Wants 4 Early Voting Sites For March Election; Cost Is $15,000 Each

City Council members said Tuesday they want four early voting sites for the March city election. Sites chosen were the Election Office off Amnicola Highway, Northgate, the Brainerd Youth and Family Development Center on Brainerd Road and the South Chattanooga Youth and Family Development Center on 40th Street.   Council Chairman Moses Freeman said he was advised by Kerry ... (click for more)

An Open Letter To Tennessee Electors Of The President - And Response (2)

This an open letter to the following people who are Tennessee's presidential electors this year: Joey Jacobs (Brentwood), Beth Scott Clayton Amos (Nashville), Jason Mumpower (Bristol), Susan Mills (Maryville), Liz Holiway (Harriman), Lynne Davis (Lascassas), Tom Lawless (Nashville), Mike Callahan (Monterey), Pat Allen (Clarksville), Shannon Haynes (Alamo), and Drew Daniel (Memphis).  ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Abolish Bail For Poor

Our terribly overcrowded Hamilton County Jail may get some help from an unsuspected corner – the Obama administration is tackling the fact that right now over 450,000 people are in our country’s jails because they are too poor to pay for bail. It is a violation of the Constitution to “punish people for their poverty.” As the Eighth Amendment provides, “… excessive bail ought not ... (click for more)

Mississippi State Quarterback Nick Tiano To Play At UTC

Former Baylor School quarterback Nick Tiano announced Monday that he is transferring from Mississippi State to UTC. He tweeted, "I'm very excited to announce that I am going back home to play for The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga! # GoMoc" Tiano had announced five days ago that he was leaving the Bulldogs after his freshman year. Tiano appeared in four ... (click for more)

UTC Hoops: UTC vs. Marshall and Toys for Tots Tonight

Tonight is important as the UTC men’s basketball team hosts old rival Marshall at 7 p.m at McKenzie Come ready to watch exciting, fast-paced hoops … a track meet in tennis shoes. The Mocs are 6-2, while the high-scoring Thundering Herd is 5-2. Marshall averages 83 points a game and relies heavily on the 3-point shot (66 of 188), while the Mocs will look to minimize ... (click for more)