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Staff file photo by Tim Barber / Chattanooga developer John Wise plans to put 14 new townhomes on Chattanooga's North Shore.

A Chattanooga developer is seeking approval to put more than a dozen new townhomes on the city's hot North Shore with the units selling for up to $500,000 each.

Developer John Wise said Monday he has plans to put seven of the townhomes on Tremont Street and another seven up a hill behind those units on Tucker Street.

He said the units would range in size from 1,800 to 2,000 square feet and he said the project could reach $7 million.

Wise's project moved a step closer on Monday when the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Regional Planning Commission agreed to lift a condition related to a pedestrian walkway connecting the two sets of residential units.

The City Council will have to sign off on the planning commission's recommendation on Nov. 12. Wise said he also needs a variance from the city's Form Based Code Committee before he begins work, which he wants to start as soon as possible.

The North Shore is seeing an array of new projects. Nearby, on Woodland Avenue near Frazier Avenue, developer Fidelity Trust Co. is building six townhomes priced from $595,000 to $750,000 each. Also, the Fletcher Bright Co. is building 26 condominiums ranging from the high $200,000s to mid-$400,000s each at 411 Fair Point St.

The planning commission's recommendation came after the RPA staff had suggested denying Wise's request. The staff said that the intention of the condition is to acknowledge that pedestrian connections are encouraged and should be provided between Tremont and Tucker.

"A pedestrian connection on this site helps reinforce walkability in this area," the staff said.

But, Wise said, he has met with the neighborhood and people living in the area decided they didn't want the connectivity.

"I was shocked that staff would want to deny," he said.

Planning commission member Blythe Bailey said that while the intention of the code is connectivity, he understands there are concerns about people loitering in the area.

But, he said, he was inclined to let City Councilman Jerry Mitchell, in whose district the project sits, get involved.

David Mathews, another planning commissioner, said that panel had originally voted to rezone the property without the pedestrian condition and offered a motion to lift that requirement.

Commission Chairman Ethan Collier said the city has a right of way between the two streets, and that would still exist.

"The right of way is there. The question is if it's improved," he said.

Just one person spoke up with a concern, with a neighbor saying she was worried that the right of way could go on her property.

Contact Mike Pare at mpare@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6318. Follow him on Twitter @MikePareTFP.

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