City Pays Developer Pratt $425,000 As Settlement For "Over-Reach" In Zoning Case; Restrictions To Remain On Quarry Property

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

The city of Chattanooga has agreed to pay developer James Pratt $425,000 as settlement of a federal lawsuit he brought after the City Council in 2018 voted 6-3 to squelch a development he planned at The Quarry on Read's Lake Road.

Mr.

Pratt agreed to drop his lawsuit and the restrictions that were approved by the council on the property remain in place.  

Also as part of the settlement, 1.55 acres of the Pratt property will be transferred to the North Chickamauga Creek Conservancy.

 

The City Council at the time went along with a request by Councilman Chip Henderson to place new conditions in the current C-2 zoning that had the effect of downzoning the property against the owner's wishes.

Mr. Pratt at the time said the city "over-reached." He said, "This is improper, illegal and just not right."

The developer noted that the city 16 years earlier had changed about 600 tracts to C-2. He earlier told the Planning Commission, "To go back to the zoning from 16 years ago, that's crazy."

At the time, then-City Attorney Phil Noblett said the law "does allow the imposing of conditions for the benefit of the public."

Six council members (Ken Smith, Anthony Byrd, Jerry Mitchell, Russell Gilbert, Erskine Oglesby and Chip Henderson) were in the majority, while Demetrus Coonrod voted no and Carol Berz and Darrin Ledford abstained.

Developer Pratt has been planning to put a development at the former golf course, but neighbors are fiercely opposed.

Plans for The Quarry included 25 single-family home lots on two cul-de-sac roads near the clubhouse, 10 apartments, 60 townhomes and four single-family lots in a middle section, and 24 townhomes, 16 apartments and five single-family lots at the south end.

Councilman Henderson said the property was rezoned from R1 to R4/C-1 in 1977. He said there was a change in 1980 to allow a restaurant and bar. In 1992, he said the City Council carried out a wholesale rezoning that changed a number of C-1 zones to C-2, including The Quarry clubhouse portion.

Councilman Henderson said C-2 is "the wild, wild West. You can do almost anything you want to in a C-2."

 

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