North Chattanooga residents on Monday night closely questioned the developer of a Stringer’s Ridge site on topics ranging from his project’s density to the potential generation of radon gas.
“Some people don’t want it developed,” said developer Mike Cooke. “I understand that. This is an infill site. It’s very much a compromise.”
Mr. Cooke and Chris Anderson, both of South Carolina, want to build about 500 residential condos and townhouses along and atop Stringer’s Ridge. Mr. Cooke and his representatives met Monday with residents at the Hill City Recreation Center.
The City Council on Feb. 12 will vote on whether to rezone the site to allow the development. The 98-acre property is zoned to allow multistory apartment buildings. The Chattanooga-Hamilton County Regional Planning Commission earlier this month recommended limiting buildings from six stories above ground to three stories above ground.
The presence of Chattanooga shale in the area has been a problem in a previous development, residents said. Mr. Cooke and one of his representatives said that any shale uncovered during site work will be covered with clay soil to prevent water from reacting with the shale and causing sulfuric acid runoff.
The site will be tested before final plans are made for development, said Mike Price of MAP Engineers, the project engineer. Any radon gas that’s created on site can be vented naturally, he said.
Several residents expressed concern about the site’s historical nature. They said the ridge was used by Union cannoneers during the Civil War to bombard Chattanooga. The developers said they plan to remove about 30 feet from the ridge top for infill dirt for a later phase of the development.
A number of questions also touched on the slow real estate market, especially for condos, and the project’s effect on surrounding property values.
Some residents said property taxes would become unaffordable, while others said the project’s homes would be unaffordable. The project will take a number of years to build, Mr. Cooke said, and the real estate market could change.
“Clearly the market is slow,” Mr. Cooke said. “If you compare it to historical figures it’s not as bad as some people would have you believe.”