Mustard Tree Ministries Drops Controversial Low Income Tiny Home Project At Ooltewah

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Mustard Tree Ministries has dropped plans to build controversial low income housing at Ooltewah. 

The plan had faced an outpouring of opposition from Ooltewah residents, and the Planning Commission denied a request for a planned unit development.  

Barry Kidwell, executive director of Mustard Tree Ministries, said he and the MTM board had met and voted to withdraw the application the ministry had submitted for a planned unit development on the 16.7-acre site owned by the United Methodist Church on Snow Hill Road.   

"Although the application received a recommendation of approval from the RPA planning staff, it was subsequently denied by the Planning Commission on May 9, when members of the Ooltewah community voiced opposition because of the type of residents they feared it would bring to their community," said Mr. Kidwell.  "The next step in the process would have been the County Commission on June 8 and 15. 

"The vision is to use the land owned by the church to build a safe community of 32 affordable homes, and it includes significant greenspaces as well as a working farm. The houses are made affordable by being high quality yet smaller in size. Each of the attractive 300-sq-ft micro-homes was to be site-built on a foundation, and would feature kitchen, bathroom, and living rooms for one or possibly two people each with a number of the homes being handicapped accessible to support the needs of individuals with disabilities." 

In terms of future residences of the community, Mr. Kidwell maintains that since the organization rents the homes, it has control over the occupants, each of which would be thoroughly vetted.  "So far, we have received interest from individuals that include a number of veterans; formerly homeless individuals; college students, some whom want to serve as missionaries; and others living below the poverty level in Hamilton County," said Mr. Kidwell.  "A key point, however, is that each prospective resident would undergo a background check and have their income verified to ensure they would be able to pay their rent. 

"It is interesting, says Mr. Kidwell, "that in Chattanooga, where some 4,000 new apartments are slated to be developed, none are really properties that many would consider affordable. As an example, the housing PILOT (Payment in lieu of Taxes) program, which offers tax relief to some developers in exchange for a percentage of affordable housing units, considers $700 per month as affordable housing. In contrast, our (MTM’s) plan for the houses at the Harrison farm was to rent for $250-$300 per month, which we believe actually fulfills a dire need in our community for more affordable housing. 

"While we were disappointed by the planning commission’s decision, we also recognize that we have more work to do to help our neighbors understand our plans for this development.  Therefore, we have submitted a request that our application for the PUD be withdrawn before it goes to the county commission."  

Mr. Kidwell adds that, "At the end of the day, we have received a significant amount of encouragement and support from across the region for this concept and I am hopeful that the dialogue we have begun for providing affordable housing and supporting some of Chattanooga’s less affluent citizens will continue."

Mustard Tree Ministries is a 501(c)(3) ministry organization which receives support from a number of area churches and individuals as well as the Holston Conference of United Methodist Church.  For more information, email: info@mustardtreeministries.org.



Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report

Man, 33, Shot On Mitchell Avenue Tuesday Morning

Lebron Brown Charged In Shooting That Left Daniel Marshall In Critical Condition


Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: ADAMS, AUSTIN A 711 BELVISTA AVENUE CHATTANOOGA, 37411 Age at Arrest: 32 years old Arresting Agency: Chattanooga FUGITIVE ... (click for more)

A man, 33, was shot on Mitchell Avenue Tuesday morning. At approximately 11:14 a.m., Chattanooga Police responded to a person shot in the 1700 block of Mitchell Avenue. Upon arrival, officers ... (click for more)

Lebron Terrell Brown has been charged in a Saturday night shooting that left Daniel Marshall in critical condition. Brown, 30, 2605 E. 19th St., was charged with attempted first-degree murder, ... (click for more)


Breaking News

Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: ADAMS, AUSTIN A 711 BELVISTA AVENUE CHATTANOOGA, 37411 Age at Arrest: 32 years old Arresting Agency: Chattanooga FUGITIVE (ARREST OHIO STATE PAROLE VIOLATOR) --- ALLEN, BRIAN NICHOLAS 7229 BANTHER ROAD HARRISON, 37341 Age at Arrest: 31 years old Arresting Agency: Hamilton County DOMESTIC ASSAULT ... (click for more)

Man, 33, Shot On Mitchell Avenue Tuesday Morning

A man, 33, was shot on Mitchell Avenue Tuesday morning. At approximately 11:14 a.m., Chattanooga Police responded to a person shot in the 1700 block of Mitchell Avenue. Upon arrival, officers located the victim suffering from a non life-threatening gunshot wound. Hamilton County EMS responded and transported the victim to a local hospital. CPD Major Crimes Unit ... (click for more)

Opinion

Alstom And Tubman: A Tale Of Two Sites

The former Alstom industrial site on the riverfront and the former Harriett Tubman housing site in East Chattanooga both have a lot of redevelopment potential. And yet the city of Chattanooga seems to view them quite differently. Alstom is the fair-haired child; Tubman is the forgotten child. The Alstom area was recently designated as an "opportunity zone" in a new program ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: We're Torturing Millions

I’ll admit it – I would rather hurt than take an opioid pain pill. Hydrocodone and its cousins scare the willies out of me because once when I was ‘drug sick,’ it was the worst sickness I have ever known. For somebody who always has somewhere that it hurts, I know that opioids are wonderful when used properly but because they are increasingly abused by society, there are now over ... (click for more)

Sports

Birthday Celebration: Tyner's Hambrick Victory Leader

Melique Hambrick has hit some big buckets in his young high school basketball career, but none were ever any bigger than the one he hit at the end against East Ridge Tuesday night. Sam Garmany sank a jumper in the lane with 21 seconds left to put the Pioneers ahead by a point at 70-69, but Hambrick came through with a big 3 with six seconds remaining to lift the Rams to a stirring ... (click for more)

Hurricanes Rally To Beat Previously Unbeaten Mustangs, 63-58 In Overtime

In a District 5-3A basketball slugfest between what may be the two best teams in the league, East Hamilton got the go-ahead points on a steal-and-drive by Darwin Randolph in overtime and the Hurricanes defeated Walker Valley, 63-58, Tuesday night and handed the Mustangs their first loss of the season. “We had to keep playing a smart basketball because Walker Valley is a very ... (click for more)