Officials of the North Chickamauga Creek Conservancy said they approve the latest plan for a major Hixson development.
The group said, "The North Chickamauga Creek Conservancy has been at the forefront of the Chattanooga Village - Hillocks Farm conversation since the beginning. As soon as the development issue emerged in the Hixson community, we partnered with others in the Hixson community to make sure the best interests of the area’s residents and the area’s natural resources were represented and respected.
"We feel that the revisions to the initial development plans represent a major effort by the developers to meet our requests that the community’s integrity and the safety of the watershed are both protected.
"The original plans were unacceptable to us from both environmental standards and as residents of a healthy and well-planned Hixson. We fought the issues all the way to the City Council in January 2013 where NCCC presented our comprehensive list of conditions that would satisfy both our group and concerned neighbors.
"Since the defeat of the January 2013 proposal, the land owner and developer have made significant commitments to protect the watershed, in part, because of our involvement in this rezoning issue.
"All of the conditions that NCCC asked the developer to meet in 2013 have been met or exceeded.
"All of the information that the NCCC has asked for has been provided.
"The conditions are wide-ranging but include:
• Requirements for stormwater management through the use of detention ponds, rain gardens, pervious pavements, undisturbed areas & green space, groundwater recharge, and reuse of runoff for irrigation. All stormwater management for the site will abide by the Low Impact Development practices and standards that are identified within the City’s newly implemented Rainwater Management Guide. The developer has agreed to obtain a $2 million dollar insurance policy that will protect North Chickamauga Creek from any damages. NCCC will be diligently monitoring the creek and surrounding watershed before, during, and after development.
• Light and noise pollution, with specific times and acceptable light levels. Delivery, refuse collection, construction activities, and landscaping services will be prohibited between the hours of 8:00 pm and 7:00 am EST. All lighting will be in compliance with the standards and practices suggested by the National Dark Sky Association, in order to minimize light pollution.
• An enlarged buffer for the adjoining neighborhoods (in most cases, at least double the buffer in the original plan)
"The process that brought the current iteration of “Hillocks Farm” before the City Council this week stood in stark contrast to the process that occurred a year ago. Instead of a confrontation between the developer and residents, this hearing showed the results of a year’s worth of intensive communication, collaboration, and real citizen input.
"Much of that credit goes to the City Councilmen that represent Hixson, Ken Smith, Chip Henderson, and Jerry Mitchell, who have listened to and involved the community. Their leadership of the Hixson Community Review Committee allowed the community’s concerns to be addressed in a productive manner. Members of the Hixson Community Review Committee represented a variety of different viewpoints and organizations within the community, such as David Queen from the Friends of Hixson,Donald Kane from the NCCC board of directors, Geoff Holden from the Kiwanis Club of Hixson, Ellie Wallis as an outspoken critic of the development, Jerry Jones from the North Hixson Neighborhood Association, and many others.
"This has been a long and hard fought process. However, we hope that it has set an improved standard for communication between developers and Chattanooga residents in the future.
"In the past, real and measurable environmental expectations, well-planned storm water management, and traffic.standards were too often been ignored. Chattanooga deserves and now expects better. The NCCC and the citizens of Hixson are proud to have been part of that process."