Panel approves plan for 230 new homes for East Hamilton County in 2 projects

Traffic, other worries expressed by neighbors

Staff File Photo by Matt Hamilton / Finished residences sit next to homes under construction in Ooltewah this summer. More single-family homes are proposed for the area.
Staff File Photo by Matt Hamilton / Finished residences sit next to homes under construction in Ooltewah this summer. More single-family homes are proposed for the area.

A planning panel Monday approved 211 new houses and townhomes for an Ooltewah development, but not before neighbors raised traffic and other issues in the fast-growing East Hamilton County area.

A second townhouse project in Ooltewah with 19 units also won rezoning approval from the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Regional Planning Commission during Monday's meeting despite objections from one commission member that the development wasn't in conformity with plans for the area.

In the first proposal, a 55-acre site at Ooltewah-Georgetown and McDade roads is expected to see new single-family homes start at $450,000 each, with townhomes at $300,000 apiece, said Derek Blackwood of MAP Engineers.

"We understand traffic is a concern," he told the panel.

Blackwood, representing developer Turner Homes, said plans are to extend a proposed turn lane on Ooltewah-Georgetown Road into the project.

Neighbor Joy Perkins, among about a half dozen people who turned out with concerns about the rezoning of the parcel from agricultural to residential, said at the meeting that the planned center lane won't help with already heavy traffic.

"It's already a traffic nightmare at times," she said.

Perkins said there are about 80 homes just across the road.

Kim Helton, who also lives in the area, called Ooltewah-Georgetown an overcrowded road and asked for a traffic study.

She complained about what she termed a lack of open space in the project, saying it doesn't meet standards in the Regional Planning Agency's area plan.

"I hope you go by the plan," Helton said.

Blackwood said the developer's proposal offers ample amenities and open space. He said 7 acres will be set aside and that the builder will provide retention ponds as a feature rather than just a dry area.

Also, Blackwood said plans are to have two entrances, a clubhouse and walking trails in the development. In addition, he said, the builder will put up a 25-foot landscape buffer on Ooltewah-Georgetown Road.

Blackwood said including townhomes in the proposed project helps make it a viable development.

Commission Chairman Ethan Collier said the townhomes add a diversity of housing types to the development.

After the panel endorsed the zoning change, Helton said concerned neighbors are expected to voice their opposition again when the project goes before the Hamilton County Commission for final approval next month.

Also Monday, the planning panel approved the separate townhouse project in Ooltewah proposed for 8402 Old Lee Highway.

Blackwood, representing another developer on the rezoning of that 2.2-acre tract, said plans call for the building of 19 townhomes.

He said the property, which is close to Collegedale, is adjacent to a large commercial zone, but there are other townhouse developments nearby.

While the panel agreed to that zoning change, Chattanooga Councilwoman Jenny Hill, who also serves on the Planning Commission, cast a no vote saying the project wasn't in keeping with the area plan.

Contact Mike Pare at or 423-757-6318. Follow him on Twitter @MikePareTFP.

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