The Planning Commission on Monday afternoon recommended rezoning for a $135 million Thrive Senior Living project on a former 81.5-acre dairy farm at Ooltewah.
Some residents objected to more traffic on clogged Snow Hill Road at the site just north of Ooltewah High School.
Planning Commission member Chris Anderson said the senior living use was the "least impactful" option for the site, which he said was going to be developed one way or the other.
Mike Price of MAP Engineers said it would "set a new example for responsible growth."
He said there would be limited trips by the senior residents and few school age children.
Mr. Price said 15 acres would be left as community space and buffer.
He said the developers would build a new left turn lane at the location. A traffic study is underway, he stated.
The project will include 447 residential units, including 175 and 20 active adult units, 149 for senior living and 93 single-family homes.
He estimated the site would generate 1,791 trips per day, which he said was far lower than if an apartment complex had gone in. He said there was an effort to put apartments on the former Brooks farm.
Don McDowell said that vicinity is already "a traffic nightmare. I can't image what it will be with this development."
He said, "It's a beautiful layout, but it's absolutely in the wrong place."
Attorney John Konvalinka said he represents 40 residents who are opposed.
Planning Commission member Darrin Ledford said, "People are moving into Hamilton County in record numbers." On narrow roads out in the county like Snow Hill Road, he said, "At some point there needs to be a conversation about providing infrastructure."