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Don't Chop the Hilltop

THE LATEST

CITY COUNCIL VOTE, JANUARY 22, 6:00 PM
The City Council voted at its January 8 meeting to defer a decision on this rezoning case for two weeks to give the developer time to address some concerns shared by Council and the community. On Tuesday, January 22, the Council will vote on this zoning case, making a final decision to approve or deny.
 
Come as early as 5:15 or 5:30 to get a seat, and bring as many friends and neighbors as you can. We are early on the agenda!

Click here to read our Community Conditions to the developer and City Council.
DEC 10th - Planning Commission approves rezoning
...despite clearly voiced and reasonable requests to delay so that proper public process can occur.

Last week, Regional Planning Agency leadership told the public it would recommend delaying a vote on the rezone. Despite political pressure from Mayor Ron Littlefield and others, RPA did, in fact, maintain a need to defer so more information could be gathered on traffic and other issues. Unfortunately, Mayor Littlefield himself chose to advocate strongly on behalf of the developer at the Planning Commission meeting today, despite clear, coherent, and reasonable requests from the public and some planning commissioners to defer. Ultimately, the Mayor himself was the deciding vote to circumvent adequate public process and approve the rezone request via an incomprehensible motion. The vote tally was 7-6.

Perhaps the Chattanooga City Council will demonstrate a greater appreciation for a transparent public process and zoning that is based on a realistic development rather than a speculative one. The Don't Chop The Hilltop campaign will release additional statements soon, and remains undeterred in its effort to stand up for, and with, the community.

Keep up with ways to stay involved on the Don't Chop the Hilltop's Facebook page - we need your support now more than ever. 

Regional Planning Commission Meeting - DEC 10th
On Monday, December 10, the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Regional Planning Commission will make a recommendation about the 190-acre proposed development at Hwy. 153 and Boy Scout Rd. We have just a few more days to influence whether the commission votes to recommend approval or denial of Scenic Land Company’s rezoning request to the Chattanooga City Council.

Please come together on Monday, December 10, 1 p.m., at the Hamilton County Courthouse (625 Georgia Ave., Floor 4) to oppose the rezoning and development of the property. Here is a summary of what’s ahead and what we’ve been up to in recent weeks:
Our interaction with the developer
A couple of weeks ago, we asked the developer to delay his rezoning proposal in order to allow for adequate community input after his own consultant told Hixson residents that it would take three months to incorporate community input.

To date, the developer has not responded to our request for a delay and remains short on details about his proposal. It is our position that the obligation for public process has not been met by the RPA or the developer. If the developer values community input, as he says he does, he will respect the Hixson community’s right to full public disclosure of his plans. That’s the only way we can offer meaningful input. And if there’s nothing to hide, why wouldn’t he?
Our Elected Officials
After the Chattanooga City Council district lines are redrawn in conjunction with the March 2013 election, the proposed development will be in the district currently represented by Deborah Scott. Councilperson Scott will not be running for re-election. Still, since the vote is currently scheduled to come before the Council for a vote in January, we recently took the opportunity to sit down with her and express our concerns. While she would not confirm her position on this development, she asked the group in attendance to provide her with a list of “essentials for conditional zoning.” Late last week we responded to her with a letter asking her to work to delay a vote and require full public disclosure of the development plans so that we may review them and provide meaningful feedback. We have not yet heard back.

At this point it continues to appear as though City Council District 1 representative Pam Ladd advocates on the behalf of the developer, and that is disappointing given how loudly her constituents have spoken against this developer. Intriguingly, City Council District 3 candidate Ken Smith has stated he will stand with the Hixson community on this issue and oppose the proposed development at Hwy. 153 and Boy Scout Rd. You are encouraged to contact Ken at ken@electkensmith.com and Pam at ladd_p@chattanooga.gov and share your thoughts on the project.
Make Your Voice Heard
Several letters to the editor have appeared in the media in the last week. Thank you to all who took the time to make a public expression of their opposition to this development. More letters, phone calls and e-mails to key decision-makers are needed in the weeks to come. In particular, we need to reach out to Planning Commission members and share our position.
Can you volunteer?
We have a number of activities going on between now and the time of the Chattanooga City Council vote. We have activities that can be done any time of the day and any day of the week. Please call 842-1163 for more information about ways you can help. We need all of the help we can get!
Yard Signs
We have Don’t Chop the Hilltop yard signs available free of charge. If you would like to have one, please e-mail us at DontChoptheHilltop@epbfi.com or call 842-1163.

ABOUT THE CAMPAIGN

Scenic Land Company is once again proposing to re-zone a 190-acre piece of land near Hwy. 153 and Boy Scout Rd. for a shopping, office and apartment complex. The proposed mega-complex will negatively impact the quality of life in the Hixson area, including adding to the glut of available unoccupied retail and commercial office space, decreased property values, traffic and the environmental destruction. The proposed development is not in keeping with the responsible development guidelines as outlined by the Hixson-North River Community Plan.
If you believe community leaders should focus on redeveloping Hixson’s more than 625,000 sq. ft. of unoccupied retail and commercial space, are worried about increased traffic strain on the already-congested main thoroughfares of Hwy. 153 and US 27 and flooding issues, and are wary of destroying one of our city’s last undeveloped scenic vistas, then let your voice be heard. Tell the decision makers ... Don’t Chop the Hilltop!