Tennessee Temple Submits Plans For Move To Woodland Park Baptist Church Campus; Senior Housing Also Set On 163-Acre Site

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Tennessee Temple University has submitted detailed plans for its move from its longtime Highland Park campus to a 163-acre site on Standifer Gap Road.

Senior housing is also planned for the property owned currently by Woodland Park Baptist Church.

A rezoning request is set to be heard by the Planning Commission next Monday at 1 p.m. at the County Courthouse.

The Regional Planning Agency staff is recommending that the plan be revised "to reflect the phasing and timing of the development."

The site plan includes residence halls, softball, baseball and soccer fields and areas for tennis and volleyball. There are also walking trails and a primitive camping area.  

The property is currently zoned R-1 Residential Zone and R-2 Residential Zone. The request is to go to R-4 Special Zone for the relocation of the university. Including the development of educational facilities, student housing and athletic fields.

RPA officials noted, "The site is the home of the Woodland Park Baptist Church, a 3,200-person capacity religious facility, located on Standifer Gap Road, near the Hickory Valley Road intersection in East Brainerd. There is a railroad right-of-way north of the site and protected marshlands to the west.

"There are two residences to the south and the Derby Downs Subdivision Phases I & II to the east of the property."

Development in the area is guided by the Shallowford Road-Lee Highway Area Plan (2004) and the Hamilton County Comprehensive Plan 2030.

Officials said, "The adopted land use plan for this area, the Shallowford Road-Lee Highway Area Plan, recommends low-density residential development at this site. However, these recommendations are used only as part of the decision criteria for a zoning case. It is important to note that that this proposed development abuts an established neighborhood and requires special attention be given to the potential negative impacts to the surrounding residences. The Hamilton County Comprehensive Plan 2030 identifies this area as part of the Outer Suburban Development Sector, which is defined by the distinct separation of residential and non-residential uses."

The report says, "A traffic study is required for the Tennessee Temple PUD in order to be able to predict the impact the development will have on the existing transportation system that serves the surrounding neighborhoods. The study should take into account project phasing, future growth of the surrounding areas, and opportunities for and impact of other modes of transportation to serve the proposed site.

"The Regional Planning Agency recommends deferral of this rezoning request for several reasons:

"1. The relocation of Tennessee Temple University will transfer 344 full time enrolled campus residents from a primarily urban context to a suburban setting. The new location lacks access to transit and Standifer Gap Road, a urban minor arterial, was not designed to absorb the increased density of a now auto dependent student population. A transportation study that demonstrates the impact of this development on the surrounding street network would address these concerns.

"2. The applicant has indicated that the development will take place in phases, but this is not demonstrated on the site plan. In order to accurately assess the potential impacts to the area, the Regional Planning Agency requests the applicant revise the site plan to reflect the phasing and timing of the development."

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