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Staff file photo / A worker adds siding to a home under construction in Ooltewah, which is one of the fastest-growing areas in Hamilton County.

The fast-growing area northeast of Chattanooga's Volkswagen plant was targeted Monday by a pair of developers aiming to put up new residences, but a planning panel approved just one request.

A Knoxville developer, Turner Homes, received the OK for 50 single-family homes and more than 60 townhouses at 6725 Ooltewah-Georgetown Road.

But the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Regional Planning Commission deferred another development not far away at 7038 Ooltewah-Georgetown Road where 117 new townhouses would have been built.

Stefan Claar, Turner Homes' director of development, said the proposed project on a 27-acre vacant tract came in conjunction with a church going up nearby on the site.

All of the residences are slated for sale and not for rent, he said.

But Brad Dolan, who lives near the proposed development, said the neighborhood is primarily single-family detached homes.

Also, he said, there's a "semi-rural character" in the area, and there was concern about increasing traffic on busy Ooltewah-Georgetown Road.

Sharon Bookout, another neighbor, said that approval would set a precedent for future development and it would go against the area's plan for future construction.

John Bridger, the Regional Planning Agency's executive director, said the developer's plan calls for the townhouses to go nearest Interstate-75 and the single-family homes in the center.

"It's an appropriate transition," he said, adding the proposal follows the area plan's guidance concerning density.

A second proposed residential project by Dawson Halliday called for rezoning his 11-acre site from A-1 Agricultural to RT-1 Residential Townhouse District.

The agency staff's recommended denial because the attached townhomes weren't consistent with the area's land use plan which calls for primarily single-family detached homes. Also, there were concerns about increasing traffic on Ooltewah-Georgetown Road.

Halliday, who also operates a small business in Ooltewah employing about 30 people, said that all but two of his workers live outside the community.

"Everybody lives in Cleveland or Georgia," he said. Halliday said when townhouses come on the Ooltewah market, they're quickly sold.

"There's a need for this," he said.

But Jay Underwood, who lives nearby, said 320 people in the area around the tract have signed a petition against the proposed project.

"A dense development like this is totally inconsistent with the character of the area," he said.

Lisa Goolsby, another neighbor, said employees at her business are able to find housing nearby.

She said the area "is not appropriate for this type of development."

Halliday said he's going to look at lowering the density on the project and agreed to seek a deferral.

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

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