Neighbors want Center's jobs, but not in their backyards - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Neighbors want Center's jobs, but not in their backyards

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Story by Gordon Boyd
Eyewitness News Reporter

BRADLEY COUNTY, TN. (WRCB)-- and confirm that they are NOT the mystery companies behind the proposals code-named Project Infinity, that could bring two multi-acre distribution centers and 2-3,000 jobs to Hamilton and Bradley counties.

Neither the Hamilton County Mayor's Office, nor the Cleveland - Bradley County Chamber of Commerce will offer details of their respective proposals, beyond what's mandated to be included in permit applications with Tennessee's Department of Environment and Conservation.

"I think it stinks," says homeowner Scott Hicks. "I'm all for jobs, but going about it the right way."

Hicks bought what he calls his 'dream home' on Thurman Lane, just off of Mouse Creek Road and Lauderdale Memorial Highway in Bradley County. Thurman Lane boasts homes in the $250-$400,000 dollar range on acre-plus lots, with views of an estate farm, and a 'mini-forest' along the back property lines.

"When we moved in in January, we were tickled to death," he says.

Two-and-one half weeks ago, Hicks learned that the Chamber of Commerce was seeking a zoning change for 70 acres adjacent to his subdivision. 

"They told us it was a warehouse," he says. "They didn't tell us about the jobs."

The DEC permit application states that Project Infinity's distribution center could create 1,000 jobs with a $25 million dollar annual payroll.

"The only thing they're planning on doing is putting in a couple rows of small trees along the back fence," says neighbor Monty Davis. "You'll still have the lights, and noise, and traffic."

"I've not done the research, but I'm satisfied there's a lot of commercial property for sale in Bradley County that needs no rezoning," Hicks says.

Bradley County's DEC permit application confirms that the company in question has been scouting sites for more than three months and has considered two alternatives, but "neither meets its construction nor locational requirements."

Bradley County Commissioners are expected to consider the zoning change December 6.

"It's hard to fight people with lots of money," Hicks says. "It's hard to think Commissioners won't vote for a job."

"My question is, will they do it, if it was gonna be in their backyard?"

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