The Planning Commission voted 8-3 on Monday afternoon to recommend approval for a controversial Planned Unit Development at The Quarry golf course at Mountain Creek.
The development sought by James Pratt will go before the City Council next month.
Mr. Pratt, who earlier had withdrawn a different PUD, said the project would now leave some 21 of the 50 acres as green space. He said a champion Post Oak would be preserved on a section of lowland near a planned Walden's Ridge Park.
The development will include 252 units with apartments sandwiched between townhome units.
Mr. Pratt said, "It's a great plan. We put conditions on ourselves by dedicating all of this green space."
Steve Hunt, who lives by the former golf course, said there are thousands of nearby residents in opposition. He said most of that section remains rural. He said members of the North Chickamauga Conservancy who are in support "don't live here."
Other neighbors expressed concern about the project exacerbating flooding issues.
Jim Folkner, another longtime Mountain Creek resident, said the 50 acres was to be open space as part of a 1971 PUD. He said a lake that is to be filled in goes back at least to the 1930s.
Ethan Collier, Planning Commission chairman, said the open space that is included "is a huge, huge gift to the community. Usually on PUDs, we might see five or 10 percent open space."
Mr. Collier did say he had concerns about the large number of neighbors in opposition.
Blythe Bailey, who is city transportation director, said he was bothered by the fact that some lakes on the golf course would be partially or totally filled in. Mr. Pratt said he had a report that the lakes "from an environmental perspective are not serving any purpose. TDEC welcomes the filling in."
Darrin Ledford, city councilman who oversees planning for the council, said he was bothered that Mr. Pratt had not met with the community.
Voting no were Mr. Bailey, Mr. Ledford and Mark K. Hiatt.