Commuters to and from Chattanooga on Highway 193 will no longer see a wooded area off of Woodburn Road in Flintstone. Workers are clearing 11.9 acres to make way for a new residential development at the southwest corner of the intersection of Highway 193 and Woodburn Station Road.
Once built out, the development will include 41 single-family homes that will "mimic" the Woodburn Station neighborhood to the west of the property, said developer Steven Henry, owner of SMH Construction in Rossville.
The property was rezoned from commercial to residential with restrictions in 2016. The area to the north of the cleared land is still slated as commercial, documents state.
Henry, who is also chair of the Catoosa County Commission, stated during a Walker County Commission meeting in 2016 that his original intent was to build 37 homes with the possibility of some townhomes. Henry now plans to nix the townhomes and build only single-family homes on the property.
"We initially wanted to try and put some townhomes, but the neighbors were kind of upset about that," Henry said. "I don't want to have unhappy neighbors."
Terri Hayes has lived in the Woodburn Station neighborhood for nearly 16 years and said she has some concerns about the development, including increased traffic and noise as well as potential flooding issues. Hayes said the wooded area that has been cleared for the development used to act as a buffer between Woodburn Station and the noisy traffic on Highway 193, which has increased in the past several years.
"Beyond that, the land was bought by the developer and they have the right to do with it what they please," Hayes said. "We just want them to be considerate and perhaps foster some goodwill with a bit of tree planting."
To alleviate any flooding in the area, Henry said a large, shallow detention pond will be placed on the east side of the property which neighbors the highway. He said the new development will act as a buffer between the highway and the Woodburn Station neighborhood to help decrease any noise from traffic, and there will also be some trees planted on the east side of the development to separate the new homes from the highway.
The lot sizes for the new homes will be about 12,000 square feet and will collectively bring in an estimated $60,000 in property taxes for the county, he said. Zoned as commercial, the then-undeveloped property was bringing in about $500 annually in property taxes, according to Henry.
Construction on the homes will begin this summer, he said.
"I think these homes will be a good addition to the neighborhood," said Henry.
Last month, Walker County released a report on new-home construction permits for single-family homes in 2017 that show a 10 percent increase over the previous year. The county states the average value for each new home was about $155,000.
Henry could not yet share his new homes' anticipated price.
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