Chattanooga planners delayed giving a yes or no answer to an Alabama developer who asked to build a 264-unit apartment building on Bonny Oaks Drive.
The Chattanooga Hamilton County Regional Planning Commission voted to defer action on the proposal from Arbour Valley Development for 30 days so the developer can meet with neighbors and nail down critical project details, like the entrance and exits into the 30-acre site.
"We don't have a problem with deferral," said Mike St. Charles, an attorney with Chambliss, Bahner & Stophel who represented Arbour Valley at the planning commission meeting Monday. "We want to work with the neighborhood and everybody."
Neighbors balked at the idea of apartments at 2848 Anderson Terrace, and argued the proposal will turn a quiet neighborhood into a busy corridor.
"We can barely fit two cars on that one-lane road," said resident Bren Luke. "Just through neighborly interaction we know that one has to stop while the other one goes around. But by proposing 264 units with access on Anderson Terrace, that's just thrown out the window."
The initial plan for the complex calls for driveways into the apartments from Anderson Terrace and Bonnyvale Lane, but St. Charles said the developer would prefer one entrance from Bonnyvale, which connects directly to Bonny Oaks.
"Our preference would be one main entrance, more direct from Bonnyvale and Bonny Oaks that is wider, safer and more of a boulevard," he said.
That could help mitigate neighbors' concerns that traffic from the apartments will spill into the neighborhoods through Anderson Terrace.
If the project is approved at the next planning commission meeting in February and later earns the final OK from the Chattanooga City Council, construction should start within a year and would take between 12 and 18 months to complete, said Taylor Price, a project manager with Arbour Valley.
She said the apartments are aimed at people who work at Enterprise South and families whose kids would attend nearby Tyner Academy or Silverdale Baptist Academy. She did not have an estimate on the project's cost.
St. Charles said the company is not worried about Chattanooga's cooling apartment market.
"It's perfect timing for them," he said. "Other people developing apartments may have been looking for a general uptick in the market, but they were looking at a specific need in a specific area."
The Arbours at Bonny Oaks includes 11 planned apartment buildings, a clubhouse, pool and playground.
Contact staff writer Shelly Bradbury at 423-757-6525 or firstname.lastname@example.org.