CLEVELAND, Tenn. — Habitat For Humanity has acquired property for its next community here.
The site at the corner of Victory Street SW and Arnold Avenue is on land that once was home to a Bradley County elementary school. The school was consolidated with others, and the building became part of a construction company storage yard. It was torn down several years ago.
Habitat officials estimate the site could be developed into 17 lots and called Victory Cove. That would be slightly smaller than the organization's Century Village on 20th Street SE.
"When we purchased the property, it was vacant land and everything had been torn down and taken away," Habitat Director Matt Carlson said. "We do this for all property we purchase; we did an environmental review. It was handled by the development office of the city. ... As far as we are concerned at this point, we think it's clean property."
A request by Miller-McCoy Inc., consulting engineers representing Habitat, for planned unit development zoning, noted "Habitat for Humanity would like to build a development that has more of a neighborhood feeling to it. ... They are proposing to do this by adding a new east/west road with sidewalks."
According to the request to the Cleveland Planning Commission, the area's population density would be about the same as it is now under its current residential zoning. But planned unit development rezoning would allow for set-backs in line with Habitat's plans, the request states.
The planning commission approved the plan in July, and the City Council gave preliminary approval last Monday.
Neighbors told council members that they support Habitat but are concerned about the site. The old school building was razed without asbestos checks and other precautions, they said.
The Tennessee Air Pollution Control Division sent a letter stating that no remaining signs of asbestos were found, Community Development Director Jonathan Jobe said.
The test came back "clean," project engineer Christopher Berry said. But if anything is found in a second test, it would be cleaned up and the project continued, he said.
City personnel were asked to study neighborhood traffic patterns before the final City Council vote Aug. 27.
Randall Higgins covers news in Cleveland, Tenn., for the Times Free Press. He started work with the Chattanooga Times in 1977 and joined the staff of the Chattanooga Times Free Press when the Free Press and Times merged in 1999. Randall has covered Southeast Tennessee, Northwest Georgia and Alabama. He now covers Cleveland and Bradley County and the neighboring region. Randall is a Cleveland native. He has bachelor’s degree from Tennessee Technological University. His awards ...