With development spilling over from North Chattanooga into Red Bank, the small city is preparing by outlining which types of development can go where.

The final piece of that puzzle came Nov. 20, when officials unanimously approved the second reading of an ordinance that establishes a C3 "Neighborhood Commercial" zone for the northern end of Dayton Boulevard, where the concentrated business district tapers off into single-family neighborhoods.

The new designation will allow for low-intensity commercial developments, like mom-and-pop stores, service providers including medical clinics and beauty shops, small drinking establishments and bed-and-breakfasts. More intensive uses, such as day care centers, large office buildings, restaurants, churches and nursing homes, may be permitted with a special permit granted by the city commission.

"We know what's coming down the pike for us, so we're just preparing," said outgoing Mayor John Roberts, who presided over the first vote but handed the gavel over to the new commission prior to the second vote. "The intent of the C3 zone is to protect that residential development. We're making it more of a community feel, not an overbuilt area."

The C3 zone is planned to stretch along Dayton Boulevard from its intersection with Meadowbrook Drive, to Barker Road on the eastern side of the thoroughfare and Glenron Street on the western side. Though, City Recorder Ruthie Rohen said the formal perimeter won't be established until sometime in the new year.

Existing facilities that front Dayton Boulevard within the ultimately agreed-on perimeter will need to be rezoned, though Roberts said none are out of compliance with the new regulations, despite the area currently carrying a C1 designation.

"It's not like we're anti-building, we just want to protect the homeowners' investment," he said.

When Roberts was elected to the commission in 2010, there were largely only two approved zone types within the town: residential and heavy commercial, or C1. With the length of Dayton Boulevard zoned C1, it would have welcomed developments ranging from hotels and theaters to auto repair shops and restaurants, even outside of what is now considered the commercial core.

Hoping to balance development with Red Bank's community feel, Roberts championed updating the city's zoning ordinance, which hadn't been touched in 40 years. That led to an overhaul in 2015 that repealed the sometimes haphazard, case-by-case zoning up to that point and outlined a comprehensive plan for growth.

Initially envisioned in that plan — along with the C2 zone from Newberry to Woodrow that established a more restrictive central business district for the city — the C3 zone marks the culmination of those efforts.

"The foundations are laid in place for the city to prosper and protect the homeowners of Red Bank," said Roberts. "That's what I've been fighting for the last eight years."

While it may have been a move he helped bring to the forefront upon taking over as mayor in 2012, he said it's a vision that stretches back to the city's inception.

"The plans back in the 1950s were to be a bedroom community, and that's how it will be," Roberts said.

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