Neighborhoods And Good Urban Design - And Response (3)

Monday, January 8, 2018

Chattanooga is enjoying a robust movement to plan developments in a number of downtown neighborhoods, and there is good reason to believe that well-designed development should be welcomed. The opposite is also true, that bad or poorly designed development should not be welcomed, especially if it seriously degrades the existing neighborhood. 

In the case of a sought-after rezoning in a long-established Northside Neighborhood, the proposed abandonment of the historic plat of the community allowing 12 single family Lots to be replaced by over 30 RTZ Zoned Townhouses, now completely surrounded by the existing Single Family Neighborhood, is not Good Urban Design on a number of levels. 

It certainly does not create any positive results for the existing homeowners, and more than doubles the existing allowable density at the direct expense of neighborhood values. The existing infrastructure cannot currently support such a dense development, and the lack of adequate parking on the proposed site will be a burden on the neighborhood forever. 

This is not the time to defer a decision on this matter. It is the clear responsibility of the public bodies, the Planning Commission and the City Council, to say no to this ill-advised plan now; it is not in the public interest. The developer knew exactly what he was buying, which was 12 lots in a long established community. 

This is neither the time nor the place to let bad development degrade our neighborhoods. This is not The Chattanooga Way. Just say no to RTZ here. 

Garnet Chapin
Urban Designer and
Northside Neighborhood Association Officer  

* * *  

I couldn't agree with Mr. Chapin more. I've seen countless examples of Greentech Homes coming in and buying vacant lots in desirable neighborhoods, knowing good and well that it will cost a premium to build on them. Everyone knows that the reason these lots are vacant is because of the increased cost to build single family detached homes on difficult sites. These types of developers are utilizing these less desirable lots to argue hardships that necessitate a rezoning. Their purpose is to make money and it shouldn't be at the expense of others.  

Mr. Chapin makes a great point that shoehorning in more density onto an already burdened infrastructure is poor planning. I will add that the reason that these zoning restrictions are in place are to protect the existing. That includes the existing neighbors, existing home values and existing city owned infrastructure.  

The request to switch to from R-1 to R-T/Z should be denied.  

If we feed the strays, they will keep coming back.  

Tim Giordano 

* * * 

Sad to say, Mr. Chapin, but that ship has sailed.  Take a look at the north end of Dartmouth Street, Hixson Pike S curves, Tremont Street, Baker Street, Frazier Avenue....I could go on but what would be served? 

It is clear who and what determines Chattanooga's course of action as it relates to developmental "planning".  Needless to say, it isn't the residents.

Darlene Kilgore 

* * * 

Garnet Chapin has devoted so much of his time and talents to this city that it owes him a debt that can never be paid even if there were an unlikely will to do so.  We have lost so much of what I loved about Chattanooga as a child, not the least of which was that birdhouse on barn roofs telling us to "See Ruby Falls."  Today I fear that we may lose the ability to see the Tennessee River unless we go high upon the mountains. 

Stop the high rises along the riverfront.  That river belongs to the taxpayers along with the scenic beauty of our mountains and ridges that caused us to locate here and help build it over several generations . . . five to be exact in my family.

Charlotte Parton
Chattanooga 




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