Chattanooga residents raise concerns of S-curve development

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) – A North Chattanooga community is demanding answers after raising concerns with the council about a proposed development along the S-curve.

One resident says that his daughter was involved in an accident along the S-curve in 2000.

He and his neighbors in the Olde Towne neighborhood and on Van Buren street just want to know if the developers with the Collier Construction have done their due diligence to keep them safe.

Just down the road from the memorial of a deadly crash on the S-curves, there’s a new housing development under construction.

North Chattanooga resident Dr. Jeff Gefter worries the extra cars and crowding may cause even more fatal crashes here along Hixson Pike.

“We are very concerned about the safety issues and about the lack of responsiveness to our legitimate questions and concerns.”

Gefter says for years he’s been asking questions about this development. He showed emails chains dating back to the summer of 2015.

It wasn’t until a week and a half ago that developers began clearing a path for a road into what is proposed to be a 21 home subdivision.

Joe Lusk has lived in this yellow home behind the construction site for 49 years and is not happy.

Lusk said, “It was devastating… my wife was looking out this window to see the trees coming down, and she immediately started to cry.”

In Gefter’s attempts to get answers, he spoke at a Chattanooga City council meeting in October. Gefter says he was told that the Hixson Pike development would not move forward before a public meeting was held.

“I am concerned that the transparency and the legitimacy of the responses and the process.”

A process that he says should take into account the residents concerns as well as a requirement that was laid out in an email from John Bridger, the executive director for the regional planning agency.

The email read that this intersection should be 200 feet from his neighborhood, Gefter believes that is only a start to making sure this development doesn’t do more harm than good.

“I spent a lifetime as an oncologist trying to prevent untimely deaths of patients, and I can’t just sit here and let progress get in the way of public safety.”

Gefter also discussed a traffic study conducted two years ago that noted adding the road to access the new development would increase car accidents by 35-percent along this stretch of Hixson Pike.

Gefter is demanding the Chattanooga Transportation Department reevaluate the traffic study and consider improvements.

News 12 requested a copy of the traffic study from WMB and hope to follow up with the city in the next few weeks.

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