Builders and uneasy Hixson residents to talk over proposal

Builders and uneasy Hixson residents to talk over proposal

March 10th, 2012 by Carey O'Neil in Business Around the Region

Scenic Land Co. wants to rezone 190 acres for apartments, stores and offices on this property adjacent to state Highway 153 and Boy Scout Road.

Photo by John Rawlston /Times Free Press.

The backers of a proposed 190-acre Hixson development will discuss the potential environmental, traffic and economic concerns of nearby residents at a public meeting Monday.

The proposed Highway 153 site now sits on a steeply inclined, forested space. Developers would level the area for a 280-unit apartment complex and 763,320 square feet of commercial space if the project clears the necessary regulatory and economic hurdles.

But several area residents have spoken out against the project and are expected to attend Monday night's meeting.

"There are a litany of environmental concerns, significant economic concerns, safety concerns," said Gregory Vickrey, director of the North Chickamauga Creek Conservancy. "The community is making these arguments. It's not just a North Chickamauga thing; it's a Hixson thing."

Storm water runoff is Vickrey's chief concern. Preliminary plans for the site show insufficient storm water retention ponds, Vickrey said, and lack of proper water routing could lead to 1 million gallons of polluted water an hour pouring down the mountain during a rainfall.

Vickrey said traffic and related costs created with the development aren't worth the construction of the site. Up and down Highway 153, several storefronts sit empty, he said, calling for redevelopment rather than new development.

Duane Horton of Scenic City Land Co., the project's developers, didn't return several phone calls Friday.

The site, about two miles north of Northgate Mall, has been touted for its accessibility for shoppers from Soddy-Daisy, Signal Mountain and counties north of Hamilton. Before the project can move forward, it must first clear the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Regional Planning Agency and receive approval from Chattanooga City Council.