Planning Commission Recommends Approval Of $100 Million Hillocks Farm After No One Shows Up In Opposition

Monday, January 13, 2014
Developer Duane Horton
Developer Duane Horton

The Planning Commission on Monday recommended approval for the latest version of a major development in Hixson at U.S. 27 and Highway 153 after no one showed up in opposition. 

Only three members of the commission voted to recommend denial of the Hillocks Farm project by developer Duane Horton on 190 acres owned by Jack Lonas.

The Regional Planning Agency staff had recommended denial, citing traffic problems and no plans on the boards to improve nearby roads and highways. Blythe Bailey, city transportation department administrator, pointed out areas of congestion.

The City Council earlier declined to go along with a different version for the major retail, apartments, single-family homes and offices complex. It comes back up before the City Council on Feb. 11.

Three members of the council, Jerry Mitchell, Chip Henderson and Ken Smith, appointed a Hixson Review Committee that has been meeting with the developer.

County Commissioner Joe Graham made the motion for approval, saying it will increase the taxes paid on the property from about $12,000 a year to around a million dollars a year.

Don Moon, Planning Commission member, said the panel had long been dealing with the project, which was earlier called Chattanooga Village. He said at times it was "standing room only and only Mr. Horton was in favor of the project." Since then he said many concessions had been made by the developer, bringing "a remarkable turnaround and a project I think can be quite good."

Jerry Jones, a former foe, said changes were made "to where I think it is the best we can get."

There are 39 conditions on the project agreed to by the developer, including expanded buffers for nearby subdivisions.

Planned are 280 apartments, a restaurant, 250,000 square feet of office space and 500,000 square feet of commercial space.

Mr. Horton said it will have gardens and a number of other natural features, including walking trails. He said subdivisions can connect to the trail if they choose.

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