Council votes down Hixson development

Council votes down Hixson development

February 1st, 2013 by Emily Crisman in Local Regional News

Plans for a controversial mixed-use development in Hixson are being abandoned after developer Duane Horton of the Scenic Land Co. was denied a rezoning request for the 190-acre parcel poised on a hilltop near Highway 153 and Boy Scout Road. Chattanooga City Council voted 5-3 Jan. 22 to not accept the developer's proposal.

Just before the vote, Pam Ladd, who represents the area where the land is located, said she would be voting against the project due to the volume of related negative opinions she had received from her constituents.

Those voting for the rezoning included council members Carol Berz, Russell Gilbert and Andrae McGary.

"We must do for one what we do for all," said McGary, adding that the Council should not raise the bar of expectations for some zoning requests yet lower it for others. "We must be fair."

Prior to the vote, Horton told council members he had gathered community input at 18 public meetings and the project had undergone five major redesigns, resulting in 38 conditions having been added to the rezoning request.

An attorney hired by North Chickamauga Creek Conservancy, which opposed to the project for environmental reasons, said Horton did not agree to conditions those in opposition felt were most important, such as making stormwater regulations more stringent.

"We are confident that the option put forth was the best option for the landowner and the community," said Horton in a follow-up phone conversation, as to what will happen to the property following the Council's vote. "The owner still has control over the land, and we'll try to move the project forward and make it the best project it can be given the restraints currently placed on this property."