At its most recent meeting, the Planning Commission of the town of Signal Mountain passed a motion to recommend rezoning of 124 acres off of Shackleford Ridge Road from residential estate zoning to low density residential. High Acres Inc. and Jack Kruesi have plans to develop Wild Ridge at Fox Run there.
An important step to get approval for the subdivision, the rezoning is necessary because planned unit developments are not allowed within residential estate zoning, according to Town Manager Honna Rogers. The final rezoning decision lies with the Town Council and will only be put into effect after two affirmative votes by the majority of the Council after having received the Planning Commission's recommendation to approve or deny the development.
Whether or not to allow the planned unit development to actually be built is still under examination by the Planning Commission.
Though he could have demanded a vote, Kruesi chose to defer the Planning Commission's vote on whether or not to recommend approval of the development itself until next month's meeting in order to address some of the questions discussed at the Jan. 10 meeting.
"This is something that we are anxious to get started on but we do not want to get started on it until we get it right," Kruesi said to the Planning Commission.
One such item in question involved in what order the Wild Ridge phases would be built if approved. The Chattanooga-Hamilton County Regional Planning Agency, a professional organization that provides direction for the Planning Commission, recommended that Phase 2, which includes a possible 25 cottage houses, be built directly after Phase 1, which includes a possible 30 cottage houses. According to RPA Deputy Director Karen Rennich, RPA staff wanted to see more of a balance between smaller and larger lots developed toward the beginning of the project.
At its recent meeting, Kruesi asked the Planning Commission for more flexibility.
"I think you are putting a little bit of a business plan at risk by demanding of a developer that we do phases. We phased it 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 more or less as a matter of convenience," he said. "We are committed to Phase 1, but what we'd like to do is see what the market does and how the market responds. I'd like your consideration that possibly Phase 1 be done and then we be allowed to look at the market and see what the market demand and the market requests are before we be committed to a Phase 2."
Wayne Williams, newly re-appointed Planning Commission chair, said he had no personal preference as to what order the phases would be built, but he pointed out that there is a need in the community for the retreat-style houses.
"We've got an aging community, a lot of people on this mountain who are empty-nesters who would like to stay here and see their second generation grow up here, but they don't have housing stock available other than their four-bedroom house that's too large right now," said Williams.
Other topics discussed included the involvement of the Hamilton County Water and Wastewater Treatment Authority with Wild Ridge's proposed on-site waste treatment center, which is still pending official commitment from the WWTA, as is the necessary permit for the entire system from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation. According to High Acres Inc. representatives, the required applications have been submitted to the respective agencies.