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Subdivision proposal touts new technology

Members of the Signal Mountain Planning Commission are considering a new trendsetting subdivision plan put on the table by Jack Kruesi and High Acres Inc. The proposed neighborhood, to be named Wild Ridge at Fox Run, would be located off of Shackleford Road, and, according to current plans, would put no extra burden on Signal’s ongoing sewer, septic and pollution problems.

“The absolute key to this development is going to be its own self-contained waste treatment facility on-site,” said Kruesi.

According to the plan proposed by High Acres Inc., the system would involve a 750- to 1,000-gallon sediment and pump tank on each of the 199 total lots in the proposed subdivision. The waste from each dwelling would go into these tanks, similar to a septic tank, and then feed into main lines through the neighborhood to the on-site underground treatment “plant,” which could encompass 9.9 acres of the total 124 acres available. After going through a cleansing process, the water would then meet ozone lights, be converted to O3 — which causes all living organisms in the water to die — and be dripped back out into the ground as clean water, Kruesi explained. Like a septic tank, the waste tanks on each of the neighborhood’s lots would need to be maintained and pumped once every 10 years, he said.

“It’s proven technology,” said Kruesi, adding that there are more than 35 systems in East Tennessee that operate in the same way, but that he has not seen any in the Chattanooga area as of yet.

According to him, the Hamilton County Water and Wastewater Treatment Authority and the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation have already given High Acres a preliminary nod of approval for the project. Wayne Williams of the Signal Mountain Planning Commission said the developers will also need to produce a letter of intent from the WWTA or other waste management authority that says the entity will manage the neighborhood’s treatment system.

The Planning Commission also requested a letter of intent from an organization such as the National Wildlife Federation and an outline for maintaining the more than 60 acres of open space proposed in the development plan, which also includes 3.83 miles of nature trails.

“The concept behind the open space in my mind is that it be usable. You’ve got to have land to walk on,” said Kruesi in response to Council member Annette Allen’s concern over how much of the open space is on a less than 25-degree slope. “I want to take a stab and say that 70 percent of our open space land is less than 25-percent slope.”

Williams said he believes only 40 percent of the open land was on a less than 25-degree slope, but official numbers were not given at the meeting.

Keeping with the theme of innovation, Kruesi also said there would be a solar component on each house, allowing homeowners to put money toward their mortgage instead of their electricity bill, though the heating and air would be offered through a utility provider. The houses themselves would be built in three categories: Cottage lots, single-family dwellings fit for owners ages 22-59; The Retreat lots, designed for owners ages 60-81; and The Casita lots, designed for transitional seniors ages 82-95.

The next step for Kruesi and High Acres is to submit the letters of intent and a formal application for approval from the Planning Commission. The subdivision will continue to be discussed over the next weeks by the Planning Commission, with their next meeting being Jan. 10. If everything goes well for High Acres Inc., Kruesi said he would like to break ground in April or May of next year and he expects the subdivision to be at least a 10-year project.

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