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Staff file photo / Ben Berry of Berry Engineers, seen here talking about plans for a new development in downtown St. Elmo in 2019, has applied to rezone a 1-acre parcel on Hixson Pike from R-2 Residential to C-2 Commercial to the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Regional Planning Commission.

A new retail site is slated for Hixson in a proposed $2 million project after a tract of land won rezoning approval from a Chattanooga planning panel.

But the name of the proposed 10,500-square-foot store wasn't revealed for the property at Hixson Pike and Eagle Drive.

"It will be a good fit," said Ben Berry of Berry Engineers, which applied to rezone a 1-acre parcel from R-2 Residential to C-2 Commercial to the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Regional Planning Commission.

Berry declined to say what kind of retailer may go into the new building if the rezoning wins final approval from the Chattanooga City Council next month.

Construction on the structure could start in late fall and open up next spring, he said. Berry said the property, which will be combined with an adjacent lot, would hold 43 parking spaces.

"The site is really good for new commercial," he said. Berry said plans are for traffic to spill in and out onto Hixson Pike and not Eagle Drive.

Michael Conner, who lives in the area, told the Planning Commission on Monday that people who live in the nearby neighborhood are concerned about speeding traffic. There also are worries about pallets and dumpsters on the site, he said.

"We oppose it," Conner said.

Hamilton County Commissioner Greg Martin, who also serves on the Planning Commission, said he has heard about concerns with traffic flow in the area. Some neighbors want speed bumps installed to slow down motorists on Eagle Drive.

"When you look at the traffic on Eagle, it's a great concern," he said.

Also, Chattanooga attorney John Anderson, who represented another nearby property owner, said he'd like to see a mature buffer of vegetation in order to meet privacy concerns.

"We're proposing to save vegetation," he said. "More is better."

Chandler Hunt of Berry Engineers said that a privacy fence is to be constructed, likely about six to eight feet high.

The Planning Commission staff had recommended approval of the rezoning with the condition that late night entertainment, night clubs or adult-oriented entertainment be prohibited.

"The request is compatible with the adopted land use plan," said the staff report.

Nearby, a proposed new $20 million apartment development in Hixson also won rezoning approval on Monday.

A Chattanooga builder wants to put up 180 apartments in the 6000 block of Hixson Pike and the zoning change was recommended for an 11.7-acre tract from R-1 Residential to R-3.

Mike Price, owner of MAP Engineers, said Pratt Living would build and own the proposed new complex. He said the development would have one-, two- and three-bedroom units. It, too, is to go before the City Council next month for the final OK.

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

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