After some controversy and reworking of plans, developers with Scenic Land Company submitted a rezoning request to the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Regional Planning Commission today.
“We’ve had numerous conversations and meetings with Hixson residents and neighbors near the site," Duane Horton, president of Scenic Land Company, said in a prepared statement. "We’ve taken a strategic approach to address the concerns, meet zoning requirements and provide an outstanding project that the citizens of Hixson will benefit from for years to come.”
Horton and his team will present the project to the committee next month. Today, he filed the paperwork—an 11-page request that documents steps the team has taken to address community concerns.
A group of citizens recently expressed opposition to the proposed Highway 153 development, which will cost $100 million to develop fully.
They held a press conference outside downtown's Development Resource Center, where leaders met inside to discuss traffic details for the project.
Then, after getting complaints about lack of public input, Horton invited concerned community members to a meeting on the development.
After that tense meeting, Horton said he thought he eased some worries, although some, such as Gregory Vickrey with the North Chickamauga Creek Conservancy, said he is still opposed to the plan.
Horton said he has provided additional information that addresses frequently asked questions about the project and that his rezoning request downsizes the acreage requested for C-2 zoning from 150 acres to 60.
He assures everyone this is not a plan for a mall and said he has taken steps to provide "a significant amount of land for water retention and green spaces," according to a prepared statement.
The project, called Chattanooga Village, will offer Class A housing and office space, a blend of buildings, public spaces and pedestrian-friendly areas.
The developers have also added slopes and buffers that are 100 feet wide, which Horton said is more than three times the amount of space required by the city and is in keeping with the Hixson/North River Community Plan.
There will be multifamily units and small offices near steeper slopes and larger buildings on lesser slopes.
Once complete, the hilltop on Highway 153 and the majority of the site will be approximately 200 feet above Boy Scout Road, leaders said.
Those who oppose the development do so for environmental, economic and public safety reasons.
They are concerned about stormwater runoff, the damage to the environment and traffic flow issues. They said that the empty property in Hixson should be revamped and repurposed instead of building new developments.
The original plan called for about 250 apartments, 250,000 square feet of commercial office space, and stand-alone parcels for retail and dining, surrounded by pedestrian-friendly green space, according to Nooga.com archives.
In May, Horton also withdrew his rezoning application for the project so that he could modify his plan.
Vickery couldn't be immediately reached Friday.
Horton said he thinks the community will appreciate his plan.
“We have an extremely rare opportunity to develop this site into something that is befitting of this special place,” he said. “We intend to be good stewards of this site, both now and in the future. We appreciate the concerns expressed by our neighbors and have taken steps to answer their questions and incorporate many of their thoughts into our plans. The result is a project in which we can all appreciate and enjoy.”