published Tuesday, October 9th, 2012

Chattanooga building projects OK'd by planners

  • photo
    John Wise, III, president of Wise Construction LLC
    Photo by Juliette Coughlin

A pair of key commercial projects, along with more new downtown apartments, were endorsed by Chattanooga planners on Monday.

A development that would include a brew pub and restaurant coupled with apartments across from Finley Stadium received a green light from the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Regional Planning Commission. The project, which would initially have a footprint of 64 apartments off Chestnut Street, still needs City Council approval. But developer John Wise said he's optimistic of getting the city approval.

Wise, who didn't attending the Planning Commission meeting, said he had talked to planners and they backed the project. Commission staff recommended approval of a zoning change from manufacturing to C-3 central business zone, given a number of conditions.

Wise said he's still in talks with other parties that could lead to as many as 160 new apartments at the site and a $4.5 million development in total.

"All that's still going on," he said. Wise said he'd like to start work at the site within about 70 days.

Lookout Valley store

A second project approved by planners calls for building a 12,400-foot retail store off Browns Ferry Road in Lookout Valley near Parker Lane.

Developer Lee McCay, of Huntsville, Ala., declined to name the retailer.

But the project came under fire from neighbors of the proposal who feared it would add to flooding problems in the area.

Mike Fryar, who lives near the planned store on North Moss Avenue, said he's not against progress.

"But has anybody been out there when it's flooded?" he asked commissioners. "That looks like an ocean out there."

If the store is built, he didn't think developers can guarantee it won't be flooded, Fryar said. If builders are able to build it high enough to avoid flooding, he questioned where the water will go then.

Another nearby resident said she had been flooded out of her residence three times in the last 10 years and there was sewage problems associated with it.

McCay said builders would raise the retail structure so it wouldn't be flooded, and they would create detention ponds for run-off water.

Panel member Jack Benson warned the developer that if his project contributes to more flooding, he could be legally liable.

Don Moon, another panelist, urged McCay get a local engineer to study the issue. He said the commission should accept the staff recommendation to approve the project with the provision that the developer address the water problem.

Officials said property owners can take up the flooding issue when the proposal goes to the City Council for its approval, which is slated for Nov. 13.

Contact Mike Pare at mpare@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6318.

about Mike Pare...

Mike Pare, the deputy Business editor at the Chattanooga Times Free Press, has worked at the paper for 27 years. In addition to editing, Mike also writes Business stories and covers Volkswagen, economic development and manufacturing in Chattanooga and the surrounding area. In the past he also has covered higher education. Mike, a native of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., received a bachelor’s degree in communications from Florida Atlantic University. he worked at the Rome News-Tribune before ...

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