Planners reject letting Space House be a rental

Planners reject letting Space House be a rental

August 11th, 2009 by Brian Lazenby in Business

The Chattanooga-Hamilton County Regional Planning Commission on Monday rejected plans to allow the owner of the Space House to continue using the landmark as a temporary vacation property.

James Farris, owner of the 1408 Palisades Road house, said he will make his case to the City Council on Sept. 8.

Mr. Farris had asked the Regional Planning Agency to rezone the property from R-1 to R-3, which would have allowed him to rent the house designed to look like a spaceship to vacationing tourists.

The agency recommended denying the R-3 zoning request in favor of awarding a special exception that would allow temporary tenants, but the commission voted unanimously to deny the exception after hearing from area residents opposed to the idea.

"I had been renting to families all over the country, many of whom were coming to Chattanooga just to stay in this house," Mr. Farris told the commission. "I still get calls each month from people wanting to stay in the house.'

Richard "Dick" Clinton, a nearby resident, told the commission he is concerned about security, the building being a fire hazard because it only has one entrance and traffic on the narrow, winding road.

Chattanooga Times Free Press Staff File Photo<br> The Space House sits on the side of Signal Mountain and is a well known Chattanooga landmark.

Chattanooga Times Free Press Staff File Photo<br> The Space...

"This is a very quiet neighborhood, and we don't want to deal with the noise and the partying," he said. "(Mr. Farris) is renting to people with unknown character and background."

Chattanooga City Councilwoman Deborah Scott asked the commission to recommend denying the request.

"I feel that this type of special permit would be inappropriate," she said.

Mary Nell Moore, who lives on Palisades Road, expressed concern about the narrow road and children who often play near the street.

"I am strongly opposed to it - I just don't want it," she said. "I don't want tourists running up and down our little, narrow, winding roads."

Commissioner Vance Travis, who said he used to live in the area and knows the opponents, said commission members are called to put themselves in the residents' shoes.

He made the motion to deny the request, which was seconded and supported by the remaining commissioners.