Chattanooga City Councilman Benson reports calls with questions about land swap deal

Chattanooga City Councilman Benson reports calls with questions about land swap deal

June 5th, 2012 by Ansley Haman in Local - Breaking News

William jack Benson

Photo by Tim Barber/Times Free Press.

City Councilman Jack Benson said his phone began ringing at 6 a.m. today with questions about a proposed three-way land swap among the city, Hamilton County Schools and The Chattanooga Housing Authority.

The City Council tonight delayed a vote on land swaps until next week. The properties involved include East Brainerd Elementary School, Dogwood Manor Apartments and the former Maurice Poss Homes site.

In addition to some cash, the schools would end up with the Poss Homes site for a new Howard School for Academics and Technology football stadium and track.

CHA would have Dogwood Manor and about 2.8 acres of the 9-acre East Brainerd site for a low-income senior housing development.

The city will get the remaining 6.25 acres to sell for commercial development.

East Brainerd Elementary is in Benson's district, and he said residents and developers are mad about the prospect of CHA housing there.

"Developers have been calling out there ever since they realized this was going to be available," he said. "You reduce it by 2 acres and we're going to lose in the market value."

The property is near residential areas.

"We've got a nice subdivision on the East of it," Benson said. "It's going to be a difficult adjustment out there for those coming and those going."

Dan Thornton, who heads the city's General Services Administration, said he's proposed three other surplus properties fit for housing to CHA and is attempting to get the full 9 acres.

Wednesday's Times Free Press will provide added coverage.