Hamilton County developer seeking to build more homes near Hunter and Bell Mill roads in Ooltewah

Staff photo by Mike Pare / A zoning sign sits at the end of Mountain Pass Drive in Hamilton County. A developer wants to rezone a 101-acre parcel of land from agricultural to residential.

A developer is seeking to rezone a 101-acre vacant tract near Hunter and Bell Mill roads in Ooltewah for new housing, close to where a separate builder sought similar action before pulling the request earlier this week in the face of opposition.

Hamilton County developer David Mayfield, in a filing with planners to rezone the 8125 Bell Mill Road parcel from agricultural to residential, said the new zone would permit up to seven houses per acre.

The request, if approved, would "help accommodate housing demand for the estimated eight people moving into Hamilton County each day," he said.

While he sees single-family housing on the site, he's not sure how many units may be built, Mayfield said in a phone interview this week.

"I'm not exactly sure what I want to do," he said.

Despite the site's address, Mayfield's property doesn't front Bell Mill Road anymore since some tracts were previously sold for housing, he said. His land abuts the Mountain Pass subdivision, which does empty onto Bell Mill Road.

The developer's property also ties into Hunter Road, according to a map provided by the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Regional Planning Agency. The Planning Commission is slated to hear the rezoning request in October.

Earlier this week, another developer of a 102-acre vacant parcel nearby withdrew that rezoning request amid worries by some neighbors and political leaders over traffic, school overcrowding and other issues.

(READ MORE: Ooltewah growth pains cited by residents)

However, GreenTech Homes plans to move ahead to construct 200 homes at 8209 Bell Mill Road, which existing zoning permits, an official said.

GreenTech, which also sought to rezone the land from agricultural to residential, had planned to build 300 homes if it had received approval.

Mike Price of MAP Engineers, representing GreenTech, told Hamilton County commissioners this week that job creation in the area has spurred a strong need for housing.

Still, the withdrawal means the developer will not have to follow certain conditions to complete the project, Price said.

"I want my children, my grandchildren to have a place to work — a great place to work — but they've got to have a place to live," he told the commission.

Friction has heightened between East Hamilton County residents and developers amid increased population and traffic in the area versus meeting housing needs.

In Hamilton County, a yearlong planning initiative has started that will devise a blueprint to guide future growth, officials said earlier this year.

(READ MORE: Planning effort taking on Hamilton County growth)

Planners and political leaders over the next year will wrestle with population increases, traffic, sewers, public education and other issues in the unincorporated parts of the county in what was called a first-of-its-kind effort.

Contact Mike Pare at mpare@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6318.