Rent rises, as RPA denies Manufacturers Road rezoning

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CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) — The price of living in downtown Chattanooga has gone up dramatically. So has the number of apartment buildings. While the recent influx of transplants have filled the new apartments, Chattanooga residents aren’t pleased with the rise in rent.

“Oh my God. So ridiculous,” Tonya Jones said.

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“It’s been crazy,” Brandon Spurling said.

“We can’t afford it,” Vincent Jones said.

Sticker shock. That’s how Chattanoogans feel about the continuously increasing rental rates across the city.

“Not only has there been a thousand new apartments built, but there’s also been about, gosh, I don’t even want to say how much it’s increased in price over the last few years,” Spurling said. “It’s become crazy. Most of the people that I know, they’ve got to have two, three jobs just to afford an apartment by themselves.”

If you want to live in downtown Chattanooga, prepare to pay for it. The average cost near City Center is over $1,100 a month.

“I just walked by and I said, ‘Oh my God, really? I bet them things is an arm and a leg. And these people will pay for that. That’s ridiculous,” Tonya Jones said.

“That’s crazy. No. I pay $800 for a three bedroom house. That’s a bit much,” Kelly Vaughn said. “I think if they’re wanting to do that they need to do something to help get better paying jobs around here if they’re going to be charging that much.”

As rent prices soar, so do the number of apartment complexes in downtown Chattanooga. The last two years have seen massive growth, especially in the Southside district.

However, here on Manufacturers Road in the North Shore, the Regional Planning Agency is recommending to deny rezoning the seven acres of industrial land behind me.

The RPA agrees — vacant lots like these need redevelopment. However, they’re not ready to commit to multi-family apartments. The agency says the space wouldn’t mix with the surrounding area — which includes strong smelling factories with heavy machinery and truck traffic.

RPA is also unwilling to change the North Shore’s existing industrial plan

However, the people I talked to don’t want another high priced apartment complex.

“It’s overcrowded right now, and we don’t need them,” Vincent Jones said. “Like you say, we can’t fill them. Nobody’s making that kind of money, to live in a 12-18 hundred dollar apartment.”

“If they’re just going to be building more $1,300, $1,400 one bedroom apartments, good luck trying to get people to move over there to that side. I’m not moving there,” Spurling said.

The Planning Commission will make its final decision on Monday.

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Angela joined the News 12 team in November of 2017 as the weekend sports anchor and reporter. Angela is a proud member of an Army family, which means she has hometowns all over the Eastern Seaboard. Most recently, she calls Peachtree City, Georgia, home, where she graduated from Trinity Christian School and spent her free time driving her purple golf cart. She then headed to Milledgeville, Georgia, to attend Georgia College and State University. A proud Bobcat, Angela graduated Summa Cum Laude with a BA in Mass Communication and represented her December 2016 class as one of three valedictorians. Angela comes to the Scenic City from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, where she worked at the NBC affiliate, WMBF News. Before the big move, she worked as Georgia College's Sports Information Assistant, which let her get paid to be the Bobcats' biggest fan. It all started in Savannah, Georgia, though, where she interned for SAV's number one station, WTOC. When she's not working, you can find Angela watching the New York Giants, Rangers or basically any other game that's on. She also loves traveling, hiking and exploring new places, all with her camera in hand. If you have any story ideas, big or small, feel free to reach out to her on Facebook and Twitter, or email her at amoryan@wdef.com."