North Chattanooga project draws over-building concerns

New homes are planned for a Knickerbocker Avenue parcel which the developer is seeking to rezone from R-1 to R-T/Z.

A developer is seeking new zoning for a North Chattanooga tract to raise townhomes and single-family houses in a project that's drawing more criticism of over-building in the area.

Plans are to put 42 units on the 11.5-acre site off Knickerbocker Avenue in a more than $20 million project when built out, said Chris Anderson, GreenTech Homes' director of development and government relations.

The developer is seeking a zoning change from R-1 residential to R-T/Z. Anderson said R-T/Z is a typical zone to transition from homes to townhouses.

Only single-family homes will go on Knickerbocker Avenue, he said. A mix of homes and town-homes will go behind it on Notting Hill, Anderson said.

But Garnet Chapin, who heads a neighborhood association near the parcel, said his group would fight the rezoning request when it goes before the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Regional Planning Commission, slated for next Monday.

"We would oppose any rezoning from R-1," he said. "We've worked for many years to get R-1 supported."

Chapin said the density called for in R-1 is appropriate for the neighborhood.

"We're already over-building on the North Shore based on the infrastructure we have," he said.

GreenTech is building an 82-home subdivision nearby along Dartmouth Avenue, known as Northshore Heights, which some local residents also opposed. And in March, the planning commission voted against plans by GreenTech for a vacant lot off of Frankin Street, where GreenTech originally wanted to build 31 homes in another R-T/Z zone.

Anderson said he doesn't believe the density proposed in the newest project is out of line with the neighborhood.

"The density is less than four units per acre," he said about the homes that would range from $350,000 to $650,000.

Also, Anderson said, the land was zoned residential many years ago for the purposes of building homes on it. He said that it's not like the company is seeking to take park land and construct units there.

However, Chapin said, the existing subdivision in the area has existed for years and there's no reason to boost the density beyond R-1.

"Let them go someplace else," he said. "When it takes 30 minutes to get across the Market Street bridge at rush hour, we already have a problem."

Chapin said that neighbors already had bought homes based on ongoing R-1 zoning.

Anderson said North Chattanooga is popular among buyers because of its proximity to downtown and good schools. Also, he said, there are "good comps" in the area when people are ready to sell their homes.

Contact Mike Pare at or 423-757-6318.