By Cari Gervin
Community News Writer
Signal Mountain Town Council member Robert White will not build a Planned Unit Development on his property in Old Towne.
Instead, he is going to build a regular subdivision.
At an informational meeting last week, Mr. White presented the PUD plan with 16 homes that he has submitted for approval to the Signal Mountain Planning Commission and then told the crowd that he was rescinding the plan.
Mr. White said that he and his partners, Jason Farmer and Craig Smith, are developing plans for a smaller development with 11 homes that would be a traditional cul-de-sac subdivision instead of the more restrictive PUD, which requires open space, sidewalks and landscaping.
The nearly 100 or so people in attendance at the June 8 meeting at the Mountain Arts Community Center did not seem appeased by the loss of five potential homes.
Residents compared the small, proposed development to growth along Brainerd Road and Daytona Beach, among other things.
“If you really cared about Signal Mountain, you’d care about preserving the green space,” Susan Jones told Mr. White.
More than 20 people spoke about the ways the development would destroy the neighborhood with its increase in traffic, impact on the sewer system and loss of wildlife.
When asked why he wanted to develop the 7.53-acre parcel behind his estate, Marrcrest, Mr. White responded that he felt called to do it.
“I think it’s my fate. I think I’m the one who’s supposed to do this,” Mr. White replied.
Only three people seemed even halfway in favor of the project.
“(The Whites) own that property. They have the right to build those houses,” said Mary McLean. “You should be grateful that someone that cares that much (about the neighborhood) is developing the land.”
Anne Haygood, who defined herself as a “tree-hugger,” reminded the crowd of the incidents that led up to the new CVS on Ridgeway Avenue.
“I’m mindful of what happened when we objected when the Tabbs wanted to build that nursery …” Ms. Haygood trailed off.
At press time, it remained unclear when the revised development would go before the planning commission. As the land is already zoned Low Density Residential, a rezoning application will not be required, and the plat will not need the approval of the Town Council.
E-mail Cari Gervin at firstname.lastname@example.org