Community leaders want Andy Berke to pull Chattanooga rezoning request for former Harriet Tubman housing site

Unity Group of Chattanooga Chairman Sherman Matthews, third from right, speaks during a public statement by the Unity Group of Chattanooga about the former Harriet Tubman site on the steps of City Hall on Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018 in Chattanooga, Tenn.

Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke and the city council need to stop efforts to rezone the city-owned, former Harriet Tubman public housing site until a planning process for East Chattanooga neighborhoods is completed, said community leaders, who spoke during a news conference in front of City Hall on Tuesday.

The public hearing on the city-proposed zone change is scheduled for Monday's Regional Planning Commission meeting.

The Unity Group, a 50-year-old coalition of neighborhood groups focused on social justice issues in Chattanooga, spearheaded the news conference, which was attended by around 30 people.

"We are concerned about the limitations that the newly proposed M-1 industrial zoning will place on future development possibilities," reads the group's statement released Tuesday. "We wholeheartedly support the redevelopment of the Harriet Tubman site, but there must be clear measures of accountability to ensure that our input is acted upon and that low-income and working- class families will actually benefit from redevelopment."