After nearly a year of controversy and discussion about Hixson development Chattanooga Village, City Council leaders are set to vote on the issue Tuesday.
The vote also comes a couple of days after an editorial in the Chattanooga Times Free Press said what some people have suspected—that the opposition to this development isn't purely about environmental concerns and traffic issues.
The thinking is that CBL leaders, who bought Northgate Mall in 2011 and are planning renovations there, don't want the retail competition that the new Hixson development would bring.
A CBL spokeswoman said leaders have no comment on the issue.
The editorial points out that Waterhouse employee Nathalie Strickland has worked to help coordinate opposition.
What: The issue going before City Council leaders
When: Tuesday, Jan. 7, 6 p.m.
Where: The Assembly Room, located in the City Council Building at 1000 Lindsay St.
For more information: Click here for the agenda
In October, Strickland explained to Nooga.com that her role was a dual role—Waterhouse is involved "to a small degree" and that she has been involved to a larger degree as a Hixson resident, she said.
"My goal as a communicator is to help the nearby residents be organized in their efforts and have their voice heard," she said at that time.
Duane Horton, developer and president of Scenic Land Company, has plans to turn the land into a multiuse development for residential, office, shopping, dining and recreational purposes.
The $100 million project near Highway 153-Boy Scout Road has drawn criticism from some area residents and members of the North Chickamauga Creek Conservancy, who are worried about stormwater runoff, the damage to the environment and traffic flow issues.
City Council leaders will vote Tuesday whether to approve the rezoning needed for the project, but people in opposition of the development have sent a letter to the council urging them not to approve the rezoning request.
They say that passing the rezoning application based on the current conditions won't ensure the project is built as Horton is presenting it now.
The opponents have organized a campaign against the development. They've posted "Don't Chop the Hilltop" bulletin boards near the property and organized events to discuss their concerns.
The opposition prompted Horton to host a series of public meetings and hire a team of design and real estate professionals as master planning design consultants to work on the project.
In December, leaders with the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Regional Planning Commission approved the development.
Opponents have problems with the development because of environmental, economic and public safety reasons. And they want empty property in Hixson to be revamped and repurposed instead of building new developments.
Opponents also said that developers have not been forthcoming enough in disclosing their plans.
But project leaders have said they have been taking steps to accommodate citizens' concerns.
According to Nooga.com archives, Horton has made changes to calm some of the concerns, such as locating buildings with a smaller footprint in areas with the greatest slope; increasing stormwater control measures; reducing the requested amount of C-2 rezoning; and adding one-fourth of a mile of spacing between curb cuts, according to the documents.
The project also includes amenities such as pedestrian access to neighboring properties, a playground, trail access and outdoor dining.
Updated @ 10:51 a.m. on 1/8/13 to add CBL's response to the issue when it came in.