Thursday, July 24, 2014 · 6:42 a.m.
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Duane Horton, president of Scenic Land Company, spoke to a group of concerned citizens about his project, Chattanooga Village, at the beginning of the month. He said he is working to accommodate community concerns. (Photo: Staff)

Developers of a controversial $100 million project announced Friday that they have brought in Hart Howerton, a team of design and real estate professionals, as master planning design consultants.

“We intend to be good stewards of this site, both now and in the future," Duane Horton, president of Scenic Land Company, said in a prepared statement. "We appreciate the concerns expressed by our neighbors and have taken steps to answer their questions and incorporate many of their thoughts in our plans.”  

Earlier this month, after some opposition and reworked plans, developers with Scenic Land Company submitted a rezoning request to the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Regional Planning Commission.

Horton and his team will present the project to the committee on Dec. 10. Last week, he filed the paperwork—an 11-page request that documents steps the team has taken to address community concerns, according to Nooga.com archives

Leaders of the local project said that the Hart Howerton team has "extensive global experience in master planning, design and design architecture."

With the addition of the Hart Howerton team comes access to J. Richard Hill, whom local leaders said is one of the nation's leading retail and real estate strategists. 

He has a history of creating plans for his clients by listening to the needs of local neighborhoods, officials said in a news release Friday. 

A group of citizens recently expressed opposition to the proposed Highway 153 development. 

Those who oppose the development do so for environmental, economic and public safety reasons.

They are concerned about stormwater runoff, the damage to the environment and traffic flow issues. They said that the empty property in Hixson should be revamped and repurposed instead of building new developments. 

But Horton has said he is taking many steps to curb citizen's concerns. 

The project, called Chattanooga Village, will offer Class A housing and office space, a blend of buildings, public spaces and pedestrian-friendly areas, according to Nooga.com archives. 

The developers have also added slopes and buffers that are 100 feet wide, which Horton said is more than three times the amount of space required by the city and is in keeping with the Hixson/North River Community Plan. 

There will be multifamily units and small offices near steeper slopes and larger buildings on lesser slopes. 

Once complete, the hilltop on Highway 153 and the majority of the site will be approximately 200 feet above Boy Scout Road, leaders said. 

In addition to Hill, one of Hart Howerton's master planners, Roland Aberg—who has more than 30 years of experience working with public and private clients—will join the team. 

Hill said his team has plans to listen and learn from a wide variety of citizens, officials and technical experts. 

"We want to create a collaborative process where all ideas are valued with a goal of building a consensus about a responsive mixed-use development," Hill said in a prepared statement.  "If we do that, the end product will be a center of pride for Hixson and a lasting legacy for generations to come.”

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