A Chattanooga attorney is trying to stop a new apartment building from going up on the North Shore, claiming the city has improperly agreed to allow the developer to use 75 parking spaces for its tenants.
"I'm going to give it a try, but it's going to be difficult," Herbert Thornbury said Tuesday.
Thornbury, who lives in a condominium complex next to the planned 84-unit apartment building on which work has already started at Cherokee Boulevard and Manufacturers Road, said the parking spaces belong to a city entity, the Chattanooga Downtown Redevelopment Corp.
The CDRC asked CARTA in 2007 to handle management of various lots it holds downtown. CARTA has agreed to allow the 75 spaces to be used by Vision Chattanooga Northshore, which is developing the apartments.
Thornbury said the CDRC hasn't approved the agreement, adding that the panel wasn't familiar with it at a meeting earlier this week.
"The board had no clue," he said, with it telling him that it would look into the matter.
Neither the city nor Vision Hospitality returned phone calls requesting comment on Tuesday.
The proposed units have been a target of criticism by some neighbors who worry about parking and worsened traffic if the units are built.
Earlier this summer, Vision Director of Investments Andrew Hibbard said the company was trying ease neighbors' concerns, but it still needed a financially viable project.
He put the project's cost at about $10 million, with rents ranging from $900 to $1,600 per month.
Thornbury said the agreement between CDRC and CARTA says the transportation entity may utilize the parcels only as surface parking lots, or as dedicated parking reserved for use and support of civic events such as the Riverbend Festival. If any other use is proposed by CARTA, it shall obtain the prior written consent of CDRC, according to the agreement.
Thornbury said Vision should build its own parking as condominium developments in the area have done and the agreement between CARTA and Vision for the parking spaces ought to be voided.
He said there are 269 parking spaces in the lot next to Renaissance Park and 120 are already leased out, pushing the number to 195 when Vision's are included. Thornbury said that would leave only 27 percent of the parking spaces available to the public.
However, the agreement also said that none of the Vision spaces will be marked "reserved" or physically separated from the others. Users will receive a "hang tag" parking pass for the spaces and not pay the usual fee, the agreement said.
The agreement said that spaces in the lot are available on a first-come, first-serve basis.
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