Final Of 3 Controversial Large Side By Side Hillside Homes In St. Elmo Approved

Thursday, October 21, 2021

The final of three controversial side by side large hillside homes in St. Elmo was given the go-ahead on Thursday morning by the Chattanooga Historic Zoning Commission.

The third one was approved at 4182 Tennessee Ave. after Jason Craven of Watchtower Investors said he had made all the recommendations by the board from a previous meeting.

He said that included lowering the house from two and a half stories to two stories with a drop in roof lines of 4'7".

Mr. Craven said, "The scale and massing is down. We feel like we've come to the end of a six-month process."

Initially, there were a number of St. Elmo residents speaking in opposition. That had dwindled only to Denise Shaw, who said the homes were too large for the small lots. She said, "The scale doesn't match the site."

She said, "The guidelines were written to protect the integrity of the entire community."

Board member Thomas Palmer said, "There are larger homes in the neighborhood, some even down the street. That hill is making everything seem massive."

Mr. Craven said 30 feet of vegetation will be retained on the lower slopes, and said there are woods on either side.

The homes will be reached off of Seneca Avenue above.

Mr. Craven said one solution to an issue about where to put the trash cans is to build a 5'x5' foot concrete pad by Seneca that can be reached by the arms of city trash trucks.

Steve Lewin, chairman of the commission, is involved in the project. He left the room during the discussion and vote.

In another case, a couple was not allowed to replace their wooden windows on their home at 5401 Glenn Falls. The couple said the windows were deteriorating and hard to open. They said it was a safety factor in case of a fire.

They said they purchased windows that looked like wood, especially since their home sits 90 feet off the street.

Melissa Mortimer of the historic zoning staff said she visited the home and found the windows to only need new glazing.

The commission denied the request, saying that keeping the original wood windows was a requirement. Members said the windows could be reglazed as well as oiled to make them work correctly.

In a third case, the commission ruled against a request by Pat Kelly at 864 Oak St. to be able to keep the horizontal wood fence he erected behind his two-story Victorian brick home. The commission had put a stop work order on the project since he did not get permission.

Mr. Kelly said the fence was needed because there is theft in the neighborhood and much coming and going at all hours from an adjacent rental home. He also said he has two dogs.

Sue Glascock, who said she and her husband own several Fort Wood homes, spoke in favor of the existing Kelly fence. She said such fencing "is desperately needed in the neighborhood."

Mr. Palmer said a horizontal fence "will warp. It won't look good after three months."

Board members put down a requirement for a vertical picket fence in the back yard. 

 


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