Chattanooga planners have approved a proposal for 46 single-family detached micro-homes in Eastdale as a developer said he's trying to bring more affordable housing to the city.
The residences would range from 400 square feet to 600 square feet in size and start at about $180,000 each, said Rashad Jones-Jennings, chairman of Post Pro Capital of Atlanta.
Jones-Jennings, a Howard School basketball product who went on to lead NCAA Division I in rebounds per game during the 2006-07 season at the University of Arkansas-Little Rock, said he wants the new homes to raise up the Eastdale area.
"I'm going back to build up my community," he said in a telephone interview. "I'm not the type to do a money grab and leave."
The developer said nearly all of the planned micro-homes will be for-sale units, except for six or seven rentals on an 8.4-acre vacant tract at 3524 Garner Road.
The two-level units will either hold lofts or lofts and one bedroom, Jones-Jennings said. Also, each will have a living room, kitchen and one bathroom along with 18-foot exterior decks, he said. In addition, the development, called Valentina Estates, will offer a walking trail and dog park, Jones-Jennings said.
The project, which won a special permit from the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Regional Planning Commission on Monday and still needs the City Council's OK, is expected to start this year, he said.
"We'll be ready to go as soon as the city approves us," Jones-Jennings said, with construction taking about 13 months.
He said his company is finishing up a similar 29-unit development in College Park, Georgia.
"We were sold out before we put a shovel in the ground," he told the Planning Commission.
But the proposed project drew some opposition from about a half dozen neighbors before the planning panel.
Carl Ditto, who lives near the site, said he and another neighbor own houses nearby, and he worried the site plan would eliminate their driveways and landlock the properties.
He requested a condition on the special permit for a right to access the property.
Another neighbor said she was concerned the units would turn into public housing and hurt property values while increasing traffic. Also, another neighbor thought 46 units on the parcel were too many.
Ditto and the planning panel were told access to his property will be provided, and the housing density on the tract would not exceed what's OK for the requested zoning.
Jones-Jennings said the micro-homes project will help property values in the area.
"This will be a homeowner community," he said. "It will bring homeownership to the neighborhood. Residents are going to love it."
He said Tuesday that opposition hadn't been educated about the proposal.
Jones-Jennings said he retired from professional basketball in 2018. He played for two years at Chattanooga State before attending UA-Little Rock.
He said he grew up in Chattanooga's Westside, noting playing sports kept him out of trouble.
"I want to inspire the youth of Chattanooga that you can do this too," Jones-Jennings said about his work and company.
Contact Mike Pare at email@example.com or 423-757-6318.