Speakers Say Accessory Dwelling Units Could Bring Affordable Housing, Diversity; Some Are Opposed

Monday, February 11, 2019
Ethan Collier, center, speaks on ADU topic
Ethan Collier, center, speaks on ADU topic

A number of speakers at a public hearing before the Planning Commission on Monday said allowing accessory dwelling units could bring needed infill development, promote diversity and boost affordable housing.

However, some speakers said they fear the units would mainly be put into use for short term vacation rentals, bringing possible undesirables into their neighborhoods.

Many said if ADUs are allowed, it should just be for on-site owners.

The issue is expected to come before the Planning Commission in April for a vote before going to the City Council in May.

Officials said it is likely there will be an additional public hearing, perhaps in front of the City Council.

Ethan Collier, a builder who is chairman of the Planning Commission, said, "Diversity makes for great neighborhoods. Right now we are building monolithic developments where everyone looks exactly alike and everyone has the same jobs."

He said, "Just a small, small percentage of the community can afford the houses that are being built now."

Mr. Collier said neighborhoods like North Chattanooga, Highland Park and Ridgedale "do have that kind of diversity."

He said ADUs can be helpful. "You just have to do it right." 

Mary Kay Hyatt, Planning Commission member, also spoke in favor of ADUs, saying, "Face it, the world is changing. There are a lot of collaborative living methods."

She said "We Baby Boomers didn't save a lot of money, and this could be a tool that would really help."

She also said, "All renters are not dangerous bad people."

City Councilman Darrin Ledford said ADUs "are a wonderful idea if done right." He said it would allow families to remain together on the same compound. 

However, Planning Commission member Jason Farmer said he was concerned about "the property rights of neighbors." He said the units may start out for family members, then shift to short term rentals. He said, "This impacts a lot of people."

Suhir Morehead said she owns a house with a large lot in Highland Park, but she found that she could not build a small home for her on the lot. She said she ended up buying a triplex next door and converting it for her mother. She said with the ADUs there could have been five people living next to one another, but now it is just two.

Lisa Floden said she came before the Planning Commission six years ago asking for ADUs. The resident of the Hilltop community said she was told that the only way under the current regulation is to have an attached garage that can be fixed into a separate residence.

She said ADUs should be allowed citywide.

Several Highland Park speakers were in favor of the idea, while two from North Chattanooga were not. John Rowe said there are already short term rentals near his home. He said, "The influx of random people makes us uneasy." Another woman said the concept was not for North Chattanooga with its "postage size lots" and use of streets for parking, but might better be tried in East Chattanooga, saying that was an area that needs a boost.

It was noted that ADUs are already allowed within the Form Based Code area. Some six or seven have been built in the almost two years with no complaints, it was stated. 


Win Tickets For 2, Free Coke, Popcorn To Raiders Of The Lost Ark At The Tivoli

Michael M. Steele Was Motorcyclist, 55, Killed In Collision With SUV On Tuesday Morning On Lee Highway

Tennessee Highway Patrol Arrests Man In Nashville For Making Terror Threats


Win two free tickets to a showing of Raiders of the Lost Ark at the Tivoli Theater from Chattanoogan.com. Winners will also get complimentary popcorn and Cokes. There will be three sets ... (click for more)

A motorcyclist who was killed in a collision with an SUV on Lee Highway on Tuesday morning has been identified as Michael M. Steele, 55. At approximately 9:01 a.m., Chattanooga Police were ... (click for more)

A man has been arrested in Nashville for making terror threats. The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security (TDOSHS) received an email from WKRN-TV, NEWS 2 alerting that they ... (click for more)


Breaking News

Win Tickets For 2, Free Coke, Popcorn To Raiders Of The Lost Ark At The Tivoli

Win two free tickets to a showing of Raiders of the Lost Ark at the Tivoli Theater from Chattanoogan.com. Winners will also get complimentary popcorn and Cokes. There will be three sets of winners. The movie will be projected on a giant screen as part of the Bobby Stone Film Series. It will be shown Aug. 31 at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Doors open an hour ahead of the showing. ... (click for more)

Michael M. Steele Was Motorcyclist, 55, Killed In Collision With SUV On Tuesday Morning On Lee Highway

A motorcyclist who was killed in a collision with an SUV on Lee Highway on Tuesday morning has been identified as Michael M. Steele, 55. At approximately 9:01 a.m., Chattanooga Police were notified of a serious traffic crash involving a motorcycle and a vehicle at 7500 Lee Highway. The CPD Traffic / DUI Unit responded to the scene. A GMC Acadia, driven by Gary A. Moore, ... (click for more)

Opinion

Are There Too Many Hamilton County Schools?

Two recent articles reveal a great deal about the present state of local public education. Mixing and matching information and reading between the lines reveals even more. First, there is that loooonnnngg list of Top Hamilton County Schools Salaries 2019. That nearly incredible list covers only salaries from $70,000 and up, and includes 290 different individuals -- approaching ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: A Drum Major For Peace

There have been many Christmas Seasons when I have looked high and low for Christmas Cards that included the poem, “One Solitary Life.” I came across the revered poem easily over 40 years ago during a kiddie matinee at the famed Radio City Music Hall, which is in midtown Manhattan. The Radio Music Hall is huge – it can comfortably seat 6,000 – and so awesome is the Christmas Spectacular ... (click for more)

Sports

UTC's Szczepanski Named To All-SoCon Preseason Volleyball Team

Chattanooga volleyball senior MB Dani Szczepanski (Cincinnati, Ohio) earned a spot on the Preseason All-Southern Conference squad while the Mocs earned a seventh-place prediction in the preseason coaches' poll, the league office announced Thursday afternoon. Coaches were not allowed to vote for their respective team or student-athletes in the balloting. Chattanooga earned ... (click for more)

Sito Seoane Has Equalizer As Red Wolves Tie Tormenta

The Chattanooga Red Wolves’ Sito Seoane has a gift for scoring on the road. Of his four goals scored on the season, each and every one has been notched away from David Stanton Field. Goal number four was crucial, as it provided the equalizing score in Chattanooga’s 1-1 draw against Tormenta. Seoane’s critical score came in the 57th minute, after the sun had been tucked away and ... (click for more)