Catoosa rezoning case

Local developer Jerry Hawthorne explains the details of his rezoning request and planned development off Pine Grove Road during the July 16 Board of Commissioner’s meeting.

Catoosa County commissioners have approved the rezoning of a property that’ll be used to develop a town home community and also provide connectivity to East Ridge, Tenn., in the future.

During a zoning case at the July 16 Board of Commissioner’s meeting, Zoning Director James Davis presented the rezoning request and explained the developer’s desire to create homes for older residents.

Davis explained that the request involved rezoning a stretch of property off Pine Grove Road from I-2 (industrial) to RTZ.

“The planning commission met in regards to the case on June 25 and approved the request 4-0, and it does comply with the county’s comprehensive plan,” Davis said.

Before the details were laid out, commissioners seemed puzzled as to how the land was designated as industrial to begin with.

“How did this ever make it to I-2,” Chairman Steven Henry asked. “What happened? That’s industrial, correct?”

“It is,” Davis replied. “It’s not an industrial area. I don’t have an answer for that.”

When Commissioner Charlie Stephens asked if plans had been revealed for what would follow the rezoning, Davis explained that developer Jerry Hawthorne’s vision includes a gated community of town homes surrounded by green space.

“They’re saying RTZ town homes similar to the Highlands development and others — it’ll be geared more towards older residents of the county,” Davis said. “There’s quite a bit of green space on this one as well. They’re going to utilize that flood area for community space and things of that nature.”

One particular detail of interest for commissioners involved how the development would be accessed and how traffic would be impacted along Pine Grove Road.

Hawthorne chimed in and explained that there will be a turn-in off Pine Grove Road, but that the actual entrance to the gated development will be off the road a ways to help limit congestion.

“The entrance will be on Pine Grove Road, of course, because that’s the only entry point, but we will put the gate to the entrance probably a couple hundred feet off,” Hawthorne said.

Hawthorne also explained some of his ideas for creating a walkway to connect the areas surrounding the development.

“We would like to, when I bring the final plans back, be able to tie a walkway from the county recreation park — under the interstate bridge there’s room to put it there to where we can have that walking trail that’s in the county park be a lot larger and eventually tie to Highway 41 and start the greenway effect that gets us tied into East Ridge, Tenn.,” Hawthorne explained. “In the long run, if you get to East Ridge, you can go to downtown Chattanooga on a bicycle on the walkway.”

Ultimately, commissioners opted to follow suit with the Planning Commission’s recommendation and likewise unanimously approved Hawthorne’s rezoning request.

Hawthorne said he’s looking to get started with the development about a year from now.

Adam Cook is a general assignment reporter and covers the Walker-Catoosa County area. He has been a reporter since 2009.

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