Slope rules could kill housing growth, Chattanooga builders say

The Chattanooga City Council holds a voting session on Aug. 22, 2017, during which David Roddy was confirmed as the city's new police chief in an 8-1 vote.

Chattanooga builders told Chattanooga City Council members Tuesday that proposed restrictions to construction on steep slopes and flood plains would damage the homebuilding industry, cost jobs and drive up the price of housing.

Council members are weighing a delicate problem. The growing city's hunger for new homes is pushing development into more fragile lands, up on hillsides and down along creeks. Runoff and slippage can damage neighboring homes and the environment.

Between 2013 and 2018, according to figures from the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Regional Planning Agency, more than 83 percent of the nearly 600 zoning cases were for developments on steep slopes, in flood plains or both.

At an Oct. 30 public meeting, a dozen people from around the city got up and told council members they support some controls on development in those environmentally fragile areas.