Chattanooga planners approve 260 apartments for East Brainerd

Chattanooga planners approve 260 apartments for East Brainerd

July 9th, 2013 by Shelly Bradbury in Business Around the Region

PLANNED APARTMENTS

• Acres - 14.37

• Total units - 260

• Studios - 44

• One bedrooms - 92

• Two bedrooms - 102

• Three bedrooms - 22

• Attached garages - 16

• Stand-alone garages - 46

Source: Continental Properties Co. site plan

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Chattanooga planners on Monday approved an out-of-town developer's plans for a 260-unit apartment complex about a mile north of Hamilton Place mall.

About a dozen neighbors attended the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Regional Planning Agency meeting to fight the planned complex, which would include 11 two-story buildings, a clubhouse and a pool at the corner of Gunbarrel Road and Pinewood Drive.

The site was initially approved as a 10-acre complex with 184 apartments in 2009. Now the developer, Continental Properties Co., is asking to build an additional 76 units on an expanded 14-acre site.

Building on the larger site allows Wisconsin-based Continental Properties to keep three-story buildings out of the complex, said Eric Thom, development director.

"We took the combination of the two- and three-story buildings that was initially approved and turned it into only two-story buildings, to go for a more townhouse feel," he said.

The complex will include studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments. The site plan also calls for 16 attached garages, 46 stand-alone garages and 454 parking spaces.

Neighbors who protested the plan were worried about three major factors: property values, traffic and water drainage.

"All of the progress out there is at our detriment," neighbor Joe Buckley said. "We have trouble getting out of there now, and this would really make it dangerous. With 260 new apartments, that's what, 500 cars?"

In addition to the increased traffic, neighborhood spokesman Rick Cooper held up photos of flooded backyards for city planners to see.

"We just can't help but think that the clearing of this land is going to exacerbate this problem," he said, adding later, "We implore you, please give serious consideration as to whether we need more expansion in this area."

If Continental Properties receives final approval from the City Council on the revised plan for the complex, the developer will still need to go through a stormwater runoff study. That will ensure the existing single-family homes in the neighborhood are not negatively affected. The developer also will work with the city traffic engineer to study the impact the complex will have on traffic and come up with solutions, RPA documents show.

The site plan also includes at least one retention pond that is aimed at alleviating stormwater runoff. Thom said Continental Properties wants to work closely with the neighborhood as the project moves forward.

"We've had a community meeting and will continue to have meetings because we want to be good neighbors," he said.

The development's price tag wasn't immediately available.

The complex is one of about a dozen new apartment complexes in the pipeline in the Chattanooga region, including The Landings at Ashwood, a 254-unit complex a little over a mile away on Shallowford Road, and Forest Cove, a 120-unit luxury complex going up about four miles away on East Brainerd Road.

Cooper said he's afraid the apartment developers will overbuild and the value of complexes like the one planned by Continental Properties will drop, pulling down the neighborhood's property values.

He said an existing apartment complex generated noise complaints for years and failed to live up to the promises made by the developer.

"Price and clientele is determined by demand -- or lack thereof -- and prices and policies tend to get downrated as needed," he said. "The unfortunate truth is that lower-end housing is too often occupied by people who have no investment in the community and turnover is high. I feel like this is what we're inviting if we overbuild our area."

Contact staff writer Shelly Bradbury at sbradbury@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6525.