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The proposed $40 million apartment complex called The Reserve at Mountain Pass would go up at 4905 Central Ave. in Alton Park. / Contributed rendering by LDG Development

One of the biggest proposed new apartment complexes to go up in the Alton Park area in years is edging closer to reality after a Chattanooga planning panel tweaked the project.

The Reserve at Mountain Pass, a 240-unit, $40 million complex to feature so-called workforce housing, won new approvals from the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Regional Planning Commission on Monday.

Mike Price of MAP Engineers, who is working with the development group, said the new measures tighten some of the conditions related to how the project can be developed at 4905 Central Ave.

"We tried to put exact verbiage in the conditions so they're no longer vague," he said.

City Councilman Erskine Oglesby said the developer, LDG Development of Louisville, Kentucky, is moving forward with the project, though he didn't know when work will begin.

"It's a funding mechanism they're looking at that's real close to finalizing," he said.

Oglesby has said that the apartment project is seen as a stepping stone to revitalizing the area.

The 13.4-acre tract originally was rezoned from manufacturing to residential three years ago by the Planning Commission. The site formerly held the old Frank H. Trotter School and sits near the former Velsicol Chemical Co. site.

But on Monday, a couple of neighbors spoke against the apartment complex.

Vanessa Jackson asked the Planning Commission to hold off taking action until the project could be brought back again before the community.

"Many people in the community don't have access to Zoom," she said about the Internet-based app that was used for the virtual meeting because of social distancing restrictions.

Jackson said some in the community would rather see single-family housing than apartments.

Sonya Brewer, who said she also lives in the neighborhood, told the panel that apartments will make the area more congested. She sought a 60-day delay.

"The times we're in, it's not a good time," Brewer said. "We need to gather our community together."

City Councilman Darrin Ledford, who also serves on the Planning Commission, said the steps taken Monday strengthen conditions for the construction of the apartment complex.

"I think there's a fear it's removing conditions, but we're strengthening them," he said. "This fortifies the language of the conditions," he said.

The City Council is expected review the Planning Commission's action on June 9, officials said.

Contact Mike Pare at mpare@timesfreepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @MikePareTFP.

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