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Staff photo by Mike Pare / The Chattanooga area is seeing an array of proposed new apartments, including these under construction off of Apison Pike.

A new apartment complex may be headed to a Shallowford Road site that's just minutes from Chattanooga's biggest mall, but some neighbors are concerned about traffic and property values.

A proposal to build 116 apartments and rezone property at 6420 and 6418 Shallowford Road and 2997 Edgmon Forest Lane won approval from the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Regional Planning Commission on Monday.

The proposed $15 million project, which still needs the endorsement of the Chattanooga City Council, was reviewed by the panel amid a flurry of conditions.

Mike Price, president of MAP Engineers and representing developer David Gardner, said that Regional Planning Agency staff and the city will get together and formulate final conditions before going before the city council.

Price said the property sought to be rezoned R-3 Residential from R-1 is about 2.1 acres. That parcel would be added to an existing 5.6 acres already zoned R-3. He said the apartment buildings would be two stories in height and offer a townhouse-type look.

However, a couple of nearby residents took issue with the proposed apartments, with one of them saying the units would hurt the middle-class, working neighborhood.

Cathy Butler said an increase in density created by the apartment complex would create nuisances and impact the neighborhood, citing more traffic and lower property values.

She asked the planning panel to deny or defer the proposed zoning change, saying documents needed to be reviewed and that she was concerned about the conditions.

Price said a neighborhood meeting already was held with about 20 people taking part.

The developer had proposed conditions such as all habitable buildings be set back a minimum of 40 feet from all exterior boundaries which adjoin R-1 residential properties. Another condition was that all paved parking areas shall be no closer than 25 feet from all currently R-1 zoned properties abutting the site.

Staff had recommended the planning commission OK the rezoning with conditions, including no access on Edgmon Forest Lane unless required by emergency services or the city's traffic engineer.

The area that's just minutes from Hamilton Place mall is seeing new residences and other development, including the opening of the Chattanooga Veterans Affairs Outpatient Clinic across Shallowford from the proposed apartments.

The long-sought-after updated Veterans Affairs clinic in Chattanooga more than doubled the size of the old facility.

The new 95,000-square-foot clinic was built on a 17-acre tract. It replaced a facility at Debra Road near Eastgate Town Center that had operated since 1985.

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

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