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Preliminary recommendation on project could come Dec. 8

A group of Hixson residents concerned about a proposed 190-acre development at Highway 153 and Boy Scout Road referred to as Chattanooga Village want the developer to delay his rezoning request to allow more time for community input to be incorporated into the plans.

“If they were genuinely interested in community input they wouldn’t try to push this through during the holidays; they would provide the details of what they’re proposing so we can look at it and give feedback in a meaningful way,” said Nathalie Strickland, spokesperson for the group of Hixson residents calling themselves “Don’t Chop the Hilltop.”

She said that despite two meetings with the developers last week, Hixson residents still don’t feel they are being given specific answers to questions concerning issues such as stormwater runoff and the grading of the land.

Hixson resident Ellie Wallis asked the developers at a meeting with the North Hixson Neighborhood Association Nov. 15 to delay the development’s rezoning request three months.

“I know all of that is up for discussion at this point,” said Robin Derryberry, spokesperson for project developer Duane Horton of the Scenic Land Co., when asked if the developer planned to delay his request.

She said an update on the project will be made this week on the Chattanooga Village Facebook page, which will continue to be updated with information about the project in the future.

“We want to have as much information out there as possible so that the community can continue to give us input,” she said.

When asked for the specific changes Horton has made to the proposed development plans as a result of community input, Derryberry said the changes made had been posted to the Facebook page that day.

“Listening to the community’s input and comments, we’ve made sure that there’s no access to the project from Boy Scout Road; there’s no access within TDOT’s restricted access area; and we’ve even added more buffer areas and protected many of the slopes at the site,” reads a posting made on the Chattanooga Village Facebook page Nov. 20. “We’ve also taken the huge step of incorporating the largest bioswale system in the region to address storm water management issues in our planning.”

A bioswale is a landscape element intended to filter silt and pollution from surface runoff water.

“There is nothing substantial in the changes that have been made since this spring,” said Strickland. “As I understand it would take three months to develop a master plan based on community feedback.”

Wallis said she is concerned that if the rezoning request passes before the community is given specific details about the developer’s plans, he may not incorporate the residents’ concerns.

“Once the zoning goes through there’s nothing to keep him accountable after the fact,” Strickland said.

If Horton decides to go ahead with his plans and pursue the rezoning request at this time, the earliest he could go before the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Regional Planning Agency for a preliminary recommendation is Monday, Dec. 8. The Chattanooga City Council could then vote on the project as early as Tuesday, Jan. 8.

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