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During a public meeting at Westview Elementary, Rick Harris of Big Whiskey Land and Cattle Company talks to residents about his plans for a new subdivision on Ooltewah-Ringgold Road named Skyfall on Monday, Feb. 23, 2015, in East Brainerd.

Correction

This article was modified to correctly identify the name of Lee Tubbs' company, which is Enviroguard Pest Solutions.

Nervous and admitting so from the get-go, Rick Harris -- the developer seeking to create a 35 single-family-home subdivision in East Brainerd called Skyfall -- stood before about 100 residents in the West View Elementary School cafeteria Monday to answer questions about his project.

And he had his work cut out for him at times, as neighbors of the proposed subdivision offered a series of questions ranging from storm runoff to traffic problems.

Harris' company, Big Whiskey Land and Cattle Co., submitted a project plan to the Chattanooga Regional Planning Agency in October, and he said he felt like everything was on-track, with flying colors even, until Skyfall went before planning commissioners earlier this month.

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At that meeting, angry residents spoke out for the first time about the lack of information they'd received about Harris' proposed development.

Harris admitted ignorance at Monday night's meeting and sought to make good on the recommendations of planning commissioners by meeting with area residents before Skyfall goes before Hamilton County commissioners in March.

"This type of blunder is extremely embarrassing to me," he said. "For that, all I can do is offer my apologies."

And "this is my penance," he said.

Still, the residents who sat through Monday's meeting were not ready to forgive all.

"What are you going to do about the pond when it floods?" asked Brenda Isbell.

Harris said Skyfall will be designed to deal with water at each individual lot, with built-in gravel and soil beds surrounded by landscaping to help water absorb back into the ground.

Skyfall was designed by a landscape engineer, he said, with such problems in mind -- even more progressive runoff standards than are currently enforced in the county. And the pond in question, he pointed out, has been there for 30 years without human interference and still floods.

One of Isbell's neighbors, Jerry Herrod, said in the last 30 years, he's "seen it just terrible" when the area receives a lot of rain. He said after Monday's meeting that he's still not convinced all the runoff water will be contained.

"I don't have a problem with the development," he said. "I have a problem with storm water runoff."

Ben Phillips, a neighbor of the property, said despite being critical at the planning commission meting this month, he actually supports Skyfall. Phillips cited the property's current zoning, which would legally allow Harris to build 60 new single-family homes.

"If this doesn't happen, what else could happen?" he asked.

Lee Tubbs, owner of Enviroguard Pest Solutions, said as a friend of Harris and someone who's been in "every subdivision in the mid-South" for work, Skyfall stands above others.

"This is by far the most impressive subdivision I've seen to date," he said.

Isbell said she -- and many neighbors -- don't have a problem with the development exactly. It's the consequences they fear from more traffic and water runoff. A retired teacher who moved into her East Brainerd subdivision 30 years ago, Isbell said she'll likely move soon, downsize.

She said she's known for a while that something would eventually move into the land near her house where horses used to run.

But now that this day has come, it's just hard to accept, she said.

"I want some peace and quiet," she said. "I guess they built as much as they could in Ooltewah. I guess East Brainerd is next."

Contact staff writer Alex Green at agreen@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6480.

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