Hillocks Farm debuts to mixed response

Hillocks Farm debuts to mixed response

December 12th, 2013 by Emily Crisman in Local Regional News

Developer Duane Horton revealed his new site plan for a proposed 190-acre development off Highway 153 near Boy Scout Road to mixed response at a recent community meeting held in Hixson.

Horton's previous site plan was rejected by the City Council in January of this year. He is set to present the new plan to the Regional Planning Agency next month, and the plans must then go before the Planning Commission as well before the matter is put before the City Council for vote once more.

The development's name has been changed from Chattanooga Village to Hillocks Farm. The new plans reflect feedback received by the developer through several meetings of a community committee established by Hixson area City Councilmen Chip Henderson, Jerry Mitchell and Ken Smith.

Hillocks Farm is intended to be more respectful of the site's agrarian history and features gardens in place of Chattanooga Village's town squares, the developer explained.

The new plans feature a buffer zone enlarged from 50 to 100 feet. The same protection of slopes and grading restrictions will be maintained.

Some residents still have concerns about issues such as increased traffic on Highway 153.

Ron Nelson, who lives near the proposed development on Pine Marr Drive, said he has trouble turning right onto Highway 153 as it is. He asked Horton to take into consideration the effect the development will have not only on Highway 153 traffic, but on its feeder streets as well.

Dagney Lane resident Everette Summers said he is concerned the development will increase the already delayed response time of area police.

Ellie Wallis, an area resident who in the past has been one of the development's most vocal opponents, is satisfied with the extent the developer has addressed her concerns.

"This development should not be tasked with fixing the different issues our neighborhoods have," she said. "These are just developers who are trying to do the best for our community."

Committee member Mike Baskette also praised the developer's efforts.

"The thing that impressed me with this project is they didn't try to dodge anything," he said. "In terms of the environment, they went above and beyond. I'm at peace with what they've done."

If the City Council approves the new plan, the first phase of the mixed-use development to be constructed will be the 280-unit residential portion, said Horton.