KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Residents of the Choto-Northshore neighborhood in West Knox County held a protest Tuesday night, expressing opposition to a proposed affordable housing property in the area.
Choto Landing is a proposed 56-unit townhome community that would house Knox County residents who earn less than $70,000 a year. It would be located at 12320 Northshore Drive, which is just outside the Town of Farragut boundary in unincorporated Knox County.
Haley Van Edom owns Van Edom’s Wine Bar on Northshore and said she is concerned about more traffic being caused by the proposed property.
“Traffic gets backed up sometimes even up to an hour. Last week, I was trying to get to the wine bar and I sat in traffic for over 45 minutes and had to turn around and try to go the other way, just to be met with the same amount of traffic coming in on the other side, there’s really only two ways in and out,” she said.
The Dominion Group owns DGA Residential LLC, which is the company that plans to build the townhomes. Dominion Group President Peter Hall said in a statement, “A traffic engineering firm determined that traffic from the development would have minimal impact. A left turn lane into the property is being recommended, and DGA will work with the county on providing this.”
Michael Potesta is the President of the Board of Directors for the Jefferson Park Homeowners Association and said flooding is another concern.
“We’ve got limited resources to help improve drainage around here. All the neighborhoods are being flooded. Homes are being flooded. We’ve got erosion issues, and they’re very real issues,” Potesta said.
“The updated site plan, based on community input that was communicated via Knox County commissioners, included adding multiple detention ponds that will help alleviate some pre-existing flooding issues; maintaining a natural buffer while adding trees; and providing a boulevard-style entrance,” Hall said in his statement.
Potesta also said he understands the need for affordable housing, but thinks it could help more families if put in a different area.
“With the lack of affordable housing, one of the best ways that you can overcome that is reallocating those limited resources into more affordable areas, where the land doesn’t cost $3 million alone,” he said.
Some residents also believe the property may affect the value of their homes.
“I’m also concerned with the conformity. This is a residential area where most homes are single-family homes with garages. This is going to be open air parking. It really doesn’t go with the look or feel of the area which also in my opinion would affect home values,” Van Edom said.
Residents also expressed concern over potential school overcrowding caused by the property. Hall said in his statement, “With a total of just 56 units of various sizes, the impact on local schools is minimal. Not every resident will have school-aged children. New students also would be enrolled across elementary, middle and high school levels so Choto Landing will not lead to a large influx of new students at any one school.”
The Knoxville-Knox County Planning Commission will vote on the development plan for Choto Landing at its meeting on Thursday, Sept. 14 at 1:30 p.m.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This story has been updated.