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A proposed East Brainerd development that would raise 128 single-family and patio homes, likely for rent, won approval from a Chattanooga planning panel on Monday.

The $19 million project would go up near Igou Gap and Morris Hill roads on a 26-acre tract surrounded by single-family detached residences, according to the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Regional Planning Commission.

"With the continued growing need for new housing in Hamilton County along with the abundance of apartments delivered over the last decade in community, we feel our community and its residents would benefit more from a single-family style housing development rather than multi-family apartments at this location," said developer Marcus Lyons of the Lyons Group Inc.

Rents would range from $1,200 to $2,200 monthly for one-, two- and three-bedroom units, he said.

Lyons said the project would have a density of about 4.9 units per acre and feature five acres of green space, a clubhouse with pool and walking trails.

But the proposed project did have opposition from a man who lives in the area, saying he's concerned about increased traffic.

Roderick Stubblefield said he has lived in the area for about 30 years and seen lots of neighborhoods pop up. He said streets and schools are overcrowded.

"It's a very congested area," Stubblefield said.

Mike Price of MAP Engineers, who represented the developer, said the target audience for the units are people 55 and older.

"That shouldn't be putting too much stress on the schools," he said.

Price also said that other developments with more density have been approved "a stone's throw away."

He said that 84 of the homes in the gated community will be single-family detached units with the remaining doubles.

All units will have backyards and patios, Lyons said. He said the proposal still needs City Council approval.

The Regional Planning Agency staff had recommended that the proposal be denied. It had said that the planned project was a change from the existing development pattern and not in line with the 2003 East Brainerd plan.

John Bridger, who heads the Planning Agency, said the issue was "multi-unit residential and shared parking" in the proposed development.

"That's different from the character of development in the area," he said. "We had a lot of discussion."

Bridger added that the proposed project is "a new housing form" of which the agency is seeing more.

"Conditions may be needed," he added. Bridger said the Planning Agency is readying to start work on an updated plan for the area.

City Councilman Darrin Ledford, who motioned to approve the project, said it's "a new breed of housing."

"I don't feel we're prepared for it," he said, adding that he wanted to make sure the project had landscape buffers and a proposed road widening.

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

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