Gregory Vickrey with the North Chickamauga Creek Conservancy and Hixson resident Linden Stricker, who is a retired banker, spoke to media and about a dozen other interested citizens earlier this month in opposition of the 190-acre tract of land along Highway 153 from Stoneridge Drive to Boy Scout Road. (Photo: Staff)

Some Hixson residents want Scenic Land Company leaders to withdraw their rezoning proposal for the Highway 153-Boy Scout Road development and allow three more months for community input. 

The residents' request comes after developer Duane Horton announced Friday that he brought in Hart Howerton, a team of design and real estate professionals, as master planning design consultants.

Developers' efforts

Developer Duane 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 has also assured 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 recent prepared statement. 

The project 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. 

Source: archives 

The consulting team has a history of creating plans for clients by listening to the needs of local neighborhoods, officials said in a news release Friday. 

The $100 million project, called Chattanooga Village, has been controversial, drawing opposition from residents who live nearby. 

Earlier this month—after reworking plans in an attempt to accommodate opposed citizens—developers submitted a rezoning request to the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Regional Planning Commission.

Horton filed the paperwork—an 11-page request that documents steps the team has taken to address community concerns, according to archives.

Horton and his team are scheduled to present the project to the committee Dec. 10.

Earlier this year, Horton tried to move forward with the project but withdrew a rezoning application in May to modify the plan further. 

Those who oppose the development do so for environmental, economic and public safety reasons, they have said. 

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. 

Earlier this month, a group of opposed citizens 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, are still opposed to the plan. 

At that meeting, Horton said he wasn't sure when he would resubmit his plans. He did so about a week after the meeting with concerned residents. 

On Monday, citizens who oppose the project said there are still too many unanswered questions, according to a news release. 

“Mr. Horton, when we met earlier this month, you told us you did not know when you would submit the rezoning proposal. You submitted it just one week later,” Hixson resident Ellie Wallis said in a prepared statement. “If you really want community input, you won’t try to push this through during the holidays. We respectfully ask you to delay your zoning request for three months.”

President of Derryberry Public Relations Robin Derryberry has been working with Horton and responded Monday to the call for withdrawing the proposal. 

"As always, we appreciate the public's input into this project," she said.