Chattanooga planners on Monday agreed to rezone a 57-acre parcel off Ooltewah-Ringgold Road for new housing, but not before nearby residents renewed traffic and school overcrowding worries.
About 40 people came out to oppose plans for about 228 new housing units near East Hamilton Middle High School.
Kay Sencabaugh, a nearby resident, said motorists already are speeding through the area.
"It's going to be terrible," she said. "There will be so much traffic. We're very concerned."
The Chattanooga-Hamilton County Regional Planning Commission agreed to rezone the site from A-1 agricultural and R-2 residential to R-1 residential.
Hamilton County Commissioner and Planning Commission member Chester Bankston had sought to quash the rezoning. The full Hamilton County Commission will need to OK the housing project next month.
Kelli Richardson of LDA Engineering said the proposal for the vacant tract at 2207 Ooltewah-Ringgold Road will include a traffic study. Also, she said, some of the property that sits in a floodplain will remain green space.
"There's a home shortage in that area," Richardson said.
Chad Jaynes, who lives in the area, said residents aren't opposed to development.
But, he said, there are concerns about flooding and traffic congestion.
"We don't know how we'll commute in or out," Jaynes said.
The developer, Billy McCoy, originally wanted to put all single-family homes on the tract, but he has reworked his plan to include mixed-use residential development, according to the Planning Commission staff.
Last month, Hamilton County Commissioner Sabrena Smedley urged planners to drive out to the area, especially at school start and end times to check out traffic. Also, she said, 1,000 lots for new homes already have been approved in the area.
"We're not going to be able to commute in this district," Smedley said. "At what point does growth outpace critical infrastructure to a degree it has a negative impact on the community and property values?"
In addition, she said, she understands that expansions to East Brainerd Road and Ooltewah-Ringgold Road may take eight to 10 years to complete.
Contact Mike Pare at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6318. Follow him on Twitter @MikePareTFP.