The Chattanooga City Council Tuesday rejected plans to develop the former Quarry golf course into a 225-unit complex of apartments and single-family homes.
Despite the recommended approval last month by the city's advisory planning staff and board, the council voted 7-0, with one abstention, to reject a planned unit development on the 50-acre site.
Developer James Pratt of Pratt Land & Development LCC had requested a 60-day extension of his PUD request to develop plans to make some of the 140 apartments he is proposing to build into more affordable units to help address the need for such housing in Chattanooga. But the council declined Pratt's request and instead voted overwhelming to turn down Pratt's PUD proposal with only City Council member Darrin Ledford abstaining from the negative vote.
In addition to the apartments, Pratt had proposed to build another 85 single-family townhomes and houses and agreed to set aside more than 20 acres of the property for parks, recreation and hiking trails, which earned the support of his project from the North Chickamauga Creek Conservancy.
"We need to be able to have some apartments on this site to make this project viable and provide all of the amenities we are planning," Pratt told the council Tuesday night.
But City Council Chairman Chip Henderson, whose district includes the property off of Reeds Lake Road and Mountain Creek Road, said the proposed apartments "are a deal breaker." Henderson said more than 5,000 residents had signed a petition against Pratt's development and 98 persons raised their hands during Tuesday night's meeting saying they were opposed to the proposed PUD.
"The reason there is so much opposition is that because you are trying to shoehorn something in here that is not designed to be here, Henderson told Pratt. "Don't risk putting a high-density development on a transportation network suited for low-density development."
Steve Hunt, a homeowner in the area and one of the leaders of the Friends of Mountain Creek, said putting the apartments on the former golf course "is incredibly inconsistent with the low density in this area." Hunt and others met with Pratt over the weekend but were unable to reach any compromise.
Pratt said under the existing zoning for the property up to 140 single-family starter homes are likely to be built, although Hunt said engineers hired by the Friends of Mountain Creek estimate the total is probably only about 110.
Taft Sibley, past president of the conservancy, said Pratt originally drafted a plan in 2018 and the group has worked with Pratt to try to improve what will go on the former golf course.
"We know this property will be developed," he said. "It's a matter of what type of building."
Tim Laramore, the conservancy's executive director, said the Quarry property is adjacent to Walden's Ridge Park, where plans are to put in mountain biking and hiking trails, along with areas for bouldering and picnicking.
Contact Dave Flessner at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 423-757-6340.