On the first reading, Soddy Daisy commissioners approved a rezoning request from owners of 70 acres at 341 Hixson St. to down-zone the property. It was zoned R-T/Z Residential Townhouse/Zero Lot Line District when it was last sold. West Brow Development was given the R-1 Single Family Residential District zone that will allow them to build a subdivision of single-family houses. With the old zoning the owners could have built 300 townhomes without asking the city for permission. With the zoning change they plan to build from 80-85 larger single-family houses. The city considers this a better use for the site.
The property has many steep slopes that are not suitable for building houses or roads so the development is planned for the top, flat portion that is above the high school. Matt Schaller representing West Brow Development said that the slopes that are left have large, old oaks and will serve as a buffer on the outside of the subdivision. He assured concerned citizens that the steep hills are considered “essentially undevelopable.”
The citizens who came to the commission meeting were there primarily in opposition to increased traffic that would be caused by any new development. The single-family houses are expected to add from 160-200 cars each day to the road, versus the 700 that would have been added with the original townhouse zoning. The developers will build a de-escalation lane to help lessen the effect of the added traffic at the entrance on Hyatt. There will be no road cuts on Hixson Street.
A second and final reading for the re-zoning will take place at the next commission meeting.
Community volunteer Jim Stewart gave the commissioners an update to his work to create a Soddy Daisy tree board. His group has several upcoming events planned. Classes will be offered by the Chattanooga Tree Commission at 9 a.m. on Saturday mornings to educate people about how to properly plant and take care of trees on their property. The city’s first Arbor Day is planned for March 5. That day there will be 2,500 trees available to plant. It begins at 9 a.m. at Pine Tree Park.
The Soddy Daisy commissioners finalized several pending issues at the Jan. 20 commission meeting.
In the fall, after periods of unusually heavy rain, many residents who live on Pine Street attended commission meetings asking for solutions to flooding problems that started after a Dollar General store was built at the corner of Pine and Dayton Pike. Berry Engineering had been hired by the city to create a stormwater plan prior to construction that includes a retention pond to contain excess water and an overflow pipe. The commissioners were told that pipe releases the excess water from the pond onto Pine Street and it ends up on property of people who live on that street. The city responded by having the developers of the store do work to remediate the problem. This work was bonded in order for the city to ensure that what they did would work.
At the meeting this week, Chandler Hunt from the engineering firm asked the city to release the bonds for the stormwater pond. Public Works Director Steve Grant told the commission that the pond was now mitigating about 95 percent of the run off and he has not seen water coming from the overflow pipe. He said he saw no reason to hold the bond longer. The vote was to follow the advice of Mr. Grant and release the money. If the system fails in the future, it will be the responsibility of the developer of the store, not the engineers.
A deannexation request was concluded for property on Bowman Road. The request was made by the property owners after Soddy Daisy deannexed the road after which the responsibility to maintain it was left for Hamilton County. The property owners felt their property taxes should have been reduced since the city no longer had to take care of that road. Instead, taxes were increased for an unrelated issue. On Thursday night, Soddy Daisy passed the ordinance to deannex the property on the second and final reading.
A proposed amendment to the city’s zoning ordinance relating to short-term rentals failed to pass for lack of a second. In September, a complaint came from Erick Booker, a lifelong resident of Soddy Daisy. He feared that the home next door to his on the lake was being renovated for an Airbnb by an out-of-town investor. He requested that the council deny a permit to allow a short-term rental there. Being on the lake he anticipated noise, crowds of strangers partying and a blocked road, just feet from his porch. He asked for the city to put restrictions in place to protect his family and the subdivision.
After discussion by the planning commission, City Attorney Sam Elliott said what the city was trying to achieve for controlling these rentals and the ability to revoke permits was already in the ordinance, so the planning commission and attorney both recommended to deny the request.
City Manager Burt Johnson received approval to purchase 10 radios for the fire department at the price of $72,942. The commission declared several Ford Taurus police cars as surplus.
Police Chief Mike Sneed reported that his department changed its focus this year and it has resulted in improved statistics in every category.
At the meeting, the winners of the Soddy Daisy Christmas parade were recognized. First place winner of Best of the Best went to David Casteel and Oak Street Baptist Church won second place. In the school category, Best of the Best first place winner was the Girl Scouts “Let it Snow.” The second-place winners from the school category was Soddy Daisy High School Cheer Team.