Developers are requesting a special permit to allow them to bring green infrastructure and shared space to a planned subdivision on Ooltewah-Ringgold Road.
The 64-acre subdivision, called Farms at Creekside, is set to bring 145 single-family residential homes to the currently undeveloped property.
Developers hope to stack the homes on 41 acres and set aside 23.2 acres as open space, a grouping of uses that could be made possible by making the lot a planned unit development.
The planning commission unanimously voted to approve the proposal. Its staff recommendation stated that "the form and uses proposed is within keeping with the precedence of the area."
The request will be brought before the Hamilton County Commission for a final vote in August.
Bryan Bledsoe, managing partner at Dwell Designed Construction, said the PUD would give developers greater control over the lots' setbacks, enabling them to implement new stormwater technology. While Assurance Land Development owns the property, Bledsoe submitted the application for the special permit to allow for a PUD.
The freed-up space would allow for green stormwater infrastructure that uses grass and natural vegetation to hold water on the site, as opposed to relying on the traditional retention model, Bledsoe explained. Similar to Renaissance Park in downtown Chattanooga, the approach would allow developers to incorporate more walkability and community engagement, he added.
Playing off of the farm theme, the property will have a barn that will serve as a meeting space, and a community pool.
"We're really trying to do something beyond just the traditional high-volume, maximum-household-per-acreage [development]," Bledsoe said.
While the number of homes fits within standard regulations for the size of the overall property, nearby residents are still concerned about the volume of traffic coming to Ooltewah-Ringgold Road and the surrounding area as it continues to grow, and are calling for sufficient road infrastructure to support it.
"The volume is increasing, the traffic is increasing, the time to get out is increasing, and we haven't even begun to sell the houses yet," area resident Savas Kyriakidis told county planning commission members June 11. "Before we continue to drop another 10 or 15 or 50 acres to another development, we should at least take a pause to say 'how are we going to take account for the volume of people that haven't moved in yet when we already know that it's increasing?'"
John Bridger, executive director of the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Regional Planning Agency, said the Tennessee Department of Transportation is currently working toward a widening project that would bring either a three- or five-lane cross-section to Ooltewah-Ringgold Road in the next 10-15 years.
"We're in the middle of the planning process for Area 12, and there's a lot of residents who mentioned the same concerns you have, so TDOT is looking at that," Bridger said, referencing the RPA's comprehensive study of the White Oak Mountain Area, which includes East Brainerd, Collegedale, Ooltewah, Apison and Summit.
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