Planners delay Shallowford apartment project, approve Hixson complex

The Chattanooga-Hamilton County Regional Planning Commission meets.

Reacting to traffic worries off Shallowford Road in East Brainerd, a Chattanooga planning panel Monday deferred approval of a new apartment complex for at least a month.

But another apartment project slated to bring a 250-unit complex to Hixson Pike near Big Ridge won approval from the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Regional Planning Commission.

The proposed Shallowford Road development would build 255 new apartments on a tract at 7608 Shallowford Road between Gunbarrel and Jenkins roads.

Mike Price of MAP Engineers, representing developer Southeast Real Estate, said there are already two adjacent apartment complexes. He said the planning panel had previously endorsed a different apartment project for the site. However, that project was later turned down by the City Council.

photo Mike Price

Price said data supports the idea that Shallowford Road could handle the traffic generated by the new apartments. He said there already was a meeting with the community.

But nearby resident Frank Anthony, one of about a half dozen people who spoke against the proposal, said the planned new complex would hurt nearby property values.

"This is the tipping point for us," Anthony said. "We'll become apartment row. It will be devastating to us."

Chattanooga businessman Greg Vital, whose company operates an assisted living facility nearby off Shallowford, said the concerns of neighbors are "very valid."

He said the new complex will "add sufficient challenges to the neighborhood," citing traffic and noise.

However, Price said there's no proof property values would go down due to the apartments.

photo Franklin Farrow, left, and Greg A. Vital are Chief Operating Officer and President and CEO of Independent Healthcare Properties, LLC.
photo Councilman Darrin Ledford

"It will be a class 'A' development," he said. While the complex would add traffic, the developers will adhere to the tenets of a traffic study, Price said.

City Councilman Darrin Ledford, a planning panel member, proposed the one-month deferral to enable the traffic study and another meeting with neighbors.

Panel Chairman Ethan Collier said that requiring a traffic study for approval of a rezoning case by the group would be "a slippery slope."

Still, the commission voted 7 to 5 for the month's deferral of the Shallowford Road proposal.

However, the panel later agreed to send the Hixson Pike project to the City Council for its approval in January despite opposition of a couple who live nearby.

M.L. Ratley, who lives on Fairview Road near the proposed 6038 Hixson Pike project, said traffic on that road already is heavy and "getting worse daily."

"Fairview is a hazard as is," he said.

Price said there would be no access between the complex and Fairview or Big Ridge Road. Hixson Pike can handle the added traffic, he said.

Bobby Cleveland of developer Fickling & Co. of Macon, Ga., said plans would be to start work next spring or summer and finish about a year later on the one-, two-, and three-bedroom units. The apartments would rent for about $1,000 to up to $1,500 a month, he said.

Contact Mike Pare at or 423-757-6318.