The East Ridge Planning Commission approved the rezoning of about 2.5 acres of property on Blackhawk Trail to make way for a proposed development of single family homes, townhouses and a small commercial business, Monday, during its regular meeting.
James Hathcock told the board that he wants to build 12, two-story homes on the sloped, wooded area. The houses would be about 1,700 square-feet and could sell for about $220,000. He also wants to construct four townhouses and a 4,800 square-foot commercial building.
Joseph Ingram, Hathcock’s architect/engineer, said the development could help bring “synergy” to the west end of Ringgold Road.
More than a dozen nearby residents expressed concern over the project. Several said that Blackhawk and nearby LeClercq Drive are too narrow to accommodate increased traffic. The increased population density would create traffic problems at Blackhawk Trail and Ringgold Road during peak travel hours. In addition, several neighbors were concerned about the additional houses creating sewer issues.
Other neighbors voiced concern over the houses being bought then rented and bringing undesirables to the neighborhood.
Ingram told the board that access to the development would be from Blackhawk Trail. The houses would be accessed from a shared drive within the development. He explained that a homeowners association (HOA) would be established to insure the properties would continue to be maintained in the future.
Planning commission member Scott Miller made a motion to approve the rezoning with the provision that the HOA would be tied to individual plats and that guidelines be established for upkeep of the property.
The vote to approve was 4-1, with board member Ron Renegar voting no.
Planning commission Chairman Mike Chauncey explained that the board’s actions were simply to rezone the property. The developer would still have to file construction plans with the city’s building officials. The rezoning and development of the property would have to be approved by the East Ridge City Council.
Michael Hunter, the owner of the Colony Apartments at 1507 Rebecca Drive appeared before the commission. He was seeking a rezoning of the apartment property from its current R-1 status to R-3 (apartments). In addition, he wanted to rezone property at 1514, 1520 and 1524 Rebecca Drive that he acquired adjacent to his 24-unit apartment building to be rezoned to R-3, allowing for him to build additional units in the future.
During the “public meeting” portion of the proceedings, city resident Charles McCullough voiced his opposition to the rezoning. He said the city is already the most densely populated city in the state and that East Ridge doesn’t need any more apartment buildings. He also reminded the planning commission that the property Hunter recently purchased on Rebecca Drive was being eyed by the city as home for a new animal services building.
“He pulled the rug out from under us,” McCullough said.
Board member Casey Tuggle said that the vacant lots at 1514, 1520 and 1524 could have a higher use as commercial property. Under the Border Region Act, Hunter could receive incentives to build a retail establishment on the site.
The board voted unanimously to deny the rezoning of the vacant lots and to grant the rezoning of the existing apartments to R-3.