New homes plan spurs neighbors’ worries over traffic, schools in Hamilton County as moratorium sought

A proposal to add 136 new single-family homes off East Brainerd Road is drawing worries from neighbors about already overcrowded roads and schools with one person calling for a rezoning moratorium.

However, a zoning change from A-1 agricultural to R-1 residential was approved by a Hamilton County planning panel on Monday for a 36-acre parcel at 10400 East Brainerd Road.

BC Acquisitions LLC wants to put up the homes on the site which is adjacent to the Bentwood Cove subdivision in Apison.

Steve Drummer, a project representative, told the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Regional Planning Commission that the density is about 3.8 dwelling units per acre.

But the discussion came on the same day as panel members debated a change to R-1 zoning that would permit in the future smaller lot sizes and reduced setbacks for homes to create more density amid a shortage of residences on the market.

According to the planning commission staff, some 261 homes could fit on the site under the proposed new regulations. Those proposed changes also were approved by the panel and now will go to the Hamilton County Commission for its consideration next month along with the BC Acquisitions rezoning.

Drummer said he wasn’t interested in putting a higher number of dwellings on the tract.

Still, several nearby residents voiced opposition to the rezoning of the parcel.

Karen Partin said people in the area are concerned about placing more pressure on infrastructure such as roads.

“We need to have the infrastructure fixed first,” she said.

Another resident said that “traffic is a nightmare,” citing the two-lane section of East Brainerd Road in the area, and she raised the idea of a moratorium on rezoning parcels for new residences.

She also complained about existing overcrowding in the schools.

“Has any thought been given where children in the new development will attend school?” she asked.

Still another neighbor expressed concerns to the planning panel about already clogged roads.

“When does it end?” she asked. “The traffic is horrible.”

Chattanooga City Councilman Darrin Ledford, who serves on the planning commission, also had a question about traffic mitigation.

“Have you given any thought about deceleration lanes?” he asked Drummer.

Drummer said he’s sure the development group will be required to conduct a traffic study to see about installing such lanes at the proposed new project.

“The owners will do what it takes to keep it safe,” he said.

John Bridger, who heads the planning commission staff, said that as sewers are extended into the county, there will be changes and more traffic.

“Traffic is going to grow as the area develops over time,” he said.

Contact Mike Pare at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @MikePareTFP.

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