Neighbors’ reaction to Amazon is mixed
by DAVID DAVIS, Managing Editor
Feb 02, 2011 | 3718 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
AMAZON AERIAL — This aerial photograph of the Amazon.com construction site in north Bradley County shows the extent of earthwork that has already taken place. This photo is supplied by John Miles.
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Some residents along Mouse Creek Road are upset about the before-sunup to beyond-sundown construction schedule at Amazon.com., about the smoke from burning trees, about the noise from heavy equipment and property values, but there are others who are not.

Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce Vice President for Economic Development Doug Berry said Monday no one has complained to him or to Bradley County Planner Corey Divel.

“For every person who gets upset, there are others who are pleased there will be new jobs in the local economy,” Berry said. “If people can live with the inconvenience for a short time, they will never have a better neighbor than Amazon.”

Bradley County Assessor Stanley Thompson said his office gets questions all the time about property values.

“The question comes up a lot,” he said. “Honestly, the only time I’ve seen anything affect property values was a chicken house built next to a subdivision.”

The subdivision existed before the chicken house was built. There were many houses placed on the market, but the dip was temporary during the controversy. Six months or a year later, selling prices had bounced back.

Thompson said the only way to know the impact on homes adjacent to the new facility is to look at the before and after prices. It is no different than the Cleveland Municipal Airport under construction on Michigan Avenue Road.

“I know it’s bigger than Hardwick Field, but there are a lot of nice homes surrounding it,” he said. “But, it’s too soon to tell about the new airport.”

Berry said a berm on the east side of the Amazon.com fulfillment center is designed to deflect the noise upward that is made by trucks, but there will not be a berm on the south end of the property.

“They can’t really use a berm on the south side like they can on the east side because of the way the site grading and drainage occurs,” Berry said. “It was better to allocate the space for the stream relocation.”

The unnamed tributary flows west to east across the south end of the property, then north under Lauderdale Memorial Highway and into South Mouse Creek, which flows between Wacker Chemical Co. and Wright Brothers Construction Co.

He said the berm changes the rate of flow of the unnamed tributary to help control the number of peak charges from improper stormwater drainage design. It appeared Interstate 75 channeled too much water into the tributary and caused a blowout.

“The design will smooth the flow and keep it from having huge surges. It will be a more continual flow,” he said.

There will be plantings of 50 feet on either side of the meandering stream along the south end of the property. The plan calls for red maple, American sycamore, green giant arborvitae, redbud and saucer magnolia trees.

“We exceed by many feet, and by plantings, any requirements by the zoning ordinance,” Berry said.

The Bradley County zoning ordinance requires screening 35 feet deep of landscape along the shared property line, planted with evergreen trees spaced a maximum of 15 feet apart in two offset rows. All trees must be at least 8 feet in height when planted, unless otherwise required according to a site plan.

All landscaped areas must present a healthy, neat and orderly appearance and kept free of refuse and weeds. If at any time after the original planting, any plant material dies or becomes diseased it is to be replaced by the property owner with new plantings meeting the same specifications.

Also required is a chain link fence with slats or fabric or opaque fence a minimum of 10 feet in height.

Amazon.com is constructing a pair of 1 million square-foot fulfillment centers in Bradley and Hamilton counties which will create an expected 1,400 jobs over the next three years. The Bradley County facility, which is expected to handle larger products, should employ some 226 full-time workers with as many as 600 to 800 temporary jobs to be added during seasonal peak periods. Direct annual payroll for the Bradley County full-time positions could be about $8.1 million. Workers’ average salaries are expected to be about $32,000 per year.

The Bradley County fulfillment center will be located along Lauderdale Memorial Highway across from the Southeast Lighting Distribution Center.