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Savannah Hills Drive resident Chuck Underwood (standing at podium) warns the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Regional Planning Commission Monday about sinkholes he said could result if developer Frank Goodwin blasts through bedrock to build a new, 48-lot subdivision on 18 undeveloped acres in the middle of the Savannah Hills Drive subdivision.

A developer's request to rezone 18 acres east of Harrison Bay for a new subdivision got a thumbs down Monday from the regional planning commission after neighbors packed the meeting to raise concerns — including that blasting through bedrock might create new sinkholes that could swallow their homes.

"More sinkholes are going to open because you've degraded the bedrock. That's not a good thing," said Chuck Underwood, a Savannah Hills Drive resident who spoke in opposition to Goodwin Southern Property LLC's request to rezone 18 undeveloped acres in the middle of Savannah Hills Drive subdivision for a 48-lot subdivision with houses in the $350,000 price range.

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Frank Goodwin (standing at podium) tells the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Regional Planning Commission Monday about his plans to build a new, 48-lot subdivision on 18 undeveloped acres in the middle of the Savannah Hills Drive subdivision at the planning commission's meeting in the historic Hamilton County Courthouse.

Neighbors also raised concerns about potential stormwater runoff from the new subdivision and additional traffic new residents could bring.

"Snow Hill Road, it's a catastrophe in the morning. Snow Hill Road, it's a catastrophe in the evening," one opponent said.

Developer Frank Goodwin sought to have the 18 acres rezoned from R-2A, a district that allows such dwellings as mobile homes, to R-1, a more-restrictive, single- family residential zone. An R-1 rezoning would have benefited Goodwin by allowing 5-foot sideyard setbacks, instead of 10-foot setbacks, so he could have built larger homes on say, a 60-foot-wide lot, the minimum width in both the R-2A and R-1 zoning districts.

"What that does is it allows me to make a bigger home, which increases the value," Goodwin said after the meeting.

Goodwin said larger, higher-value homes would help the existing subdivision.

"I thought it would be helping the neighborhood," he said. "It kind of baffles me. It's like saying do you want a Lexus or do you want a little Toyota? What it boils down to is they just don't want it there. They don't [want] it to be developed."

Goodwin, whose company owns 18 properties around Hamilton County, said he plans to develop the subdivision even though he didn't get the rezoning. He'll have to extend sewer service about a mile to reach the Savannah Hills Drive property.

"I own the land," he said. "I'm already invested in it."

Contact staff writer Tim Omarzu at tomarzu@timesfreepress.com or www.facebook.com/MeetsForBusiness or on Twitter @meetforbusi ness or 423-757-6651.

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