The Hamilton County Commission on Wednesday debated the pros and cons of granting a special exceptions permit for a residential planned unit development at 6725 Ooltewah Georgetown Road. The original proposal would have put around 120 townhouse-style homes in the new subdivision, and a revised version cut that number down to around 50.
John Bridger, Regional Planning Agency executive director, noted that several residents and commissioners raised concerns about traffic and infrastructure. One of those was Commissioner Tim Boyd, who listed several aspects the developer (Turner Homes) needed to add to the road to make the area safe for development.
“As you know I’m very sensitive about the safety aspect of Ooltewah Georgetown Road. The biggest issue is the road itself,” Commissioner Boyd said. “Is this developer providing de-acceleration lanes, turning lanes, or any modifications to Ooltewah Georgetown Road to accommodate for this?”
Commissioner Greg Martin agreed with Commissioner Boyd, stating that a right of way dedication, shoulder improvements, and a left turn lane were all needed. Commissioner Boyd said that if that area is to be developed, then the roads will have to be improved. He noted that without those accommodations, turning into the PUD could be dangerous.
“One of the big things on that road is the traffic, and we’re very happy to do what Commissioner Martin recommended, and submit a full traffic study,” the applicant for Turner Homes said. “And we’re willing to do whatever is needed to make sure it’s safe for not only us, but for the people who already live there.”
There were two people who opposed the proposed development. The first claimed to be part of the “Ooltewah Common Sense Alliance,” and asked for there to be a follow-up after approval in order to make sure rules were being followed. He also questioned the type of housing being approved.
“We want to make sure those commitments are followed through on, and from what I understand there’s not a follow-up,” he said. “We also want to point out that this is bringing a new type of housing into our community, which is townhouses.”
The developer said the homes are not for rent, but are only for sale. He said it will not be a rental neighborhood or a “bait and switch,” and hopes to have long-term residents there.
“W understand the housing issues with the county and understand they are issues for the Commission,” another woman said in opposition. “We don’t oppose the rezoning or the development of a church in the area. Our biggest concern is that the PUD has dense, small-residential lots and townhomes with paved parking areas and will introduce a totally new development to our area.”
Like the other speaker, she said the area was not meant to have multi-family residential developments. She said, “Such large multi-family residential developments are not compatible with this area of agricultural and single family homes.”
The Commissioners will vote on this issue next week.