Leave St. Elmo Alone - And Response

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

I understand the need for older communities to continue to revitalize and even redevelop/restore some properties.   But I do not understand the need for developers to attempt to stuff an oversized house onto every small lot that has remained vacant and wooded for years and years.

St. Elmo is a wonderful community with a long and distinguished history in which my experience goes back almost 70 years. We went through some struggles in the 1980's and 1990's, fighting absentee landlords and undesirable changes in the community. 

Now we find ourselves fighting yet again to maintain our unique and historic character and to conserve our beautiful slopes on Lookout Mountain and Hawkins Ridge from overdevelopment.   Developers sneak in, grab every small, narrow lot (some measuring less than 42 feet in width), and seek to overdevelop our neighborhood into a cookie-cutter styled, too-crowded suburb from which they can glean maximum profit and ignore accountability.   

I have watched a beautiful, formerly wooded steep lot on Tennessee Avenue change from a serene, wooded greenspace being stripped of 100-year-old trees, graded with stockpiled soil and left with no sediment/erosion controls; in essence, destroyed by greedy developers. 

So, developers, when you are interested in building houses, go to a neighborhood with plenty of flat building sites where young families would welcome affordable housing.  But leave our green, wooded slopes and hillsides alone for those of us who have earned the right to enjoy them.  

Tim McDonald 

* * *

The 1980s, 1990s St Elmo: Early  2000s even. Maybe it's poetic justice for all those 1980, 1990, early 2000 years when St Elmo sought to remain exclusive by targeting long time residents some felt didn't fit the 'decor' of the community. Then there was the fear too many were showing up who didn't fit the preferred 'decor' and image. 

In a morbid self-defeating way, they won! They got their wish!! Too late to complain. The community has gradually returned to its pre 1970s 'preferred' population of near or over 70 percent (you know what) and moving higher. 

Brenda Washington 


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