A plan to develop more than 100 houses on a parcel along Dillard Road across from a possible future elementary school is dead for now.
After lengthy discussion in a meeting held via Zoom teleconference, the City-County Planning Commission of Warren County voted 9-0 Thursday night to deny the rezoning application of property owner Michael Overfelt and the Lexington Pointe LLC headed by Steve Cherry and David Brady.
The development plan calls for shoehorning 116 single-family residential lots onto a 41.5-acre parcel that is near the Claiborne Farms and The Summit subdivisions and across Dillard Road from a 20-acre site that could be the home of a Warren County elementary school in the future.
A number of nearby residents joined the Zoom meeting to oppose a development plan they see as incompatible with the neighboring subdivisions and problematic along the narrow Dillard Road and the intersecting Bettersworth Road.
Residents like Robert Unseld of Calumet Court pointed out that the plan to build 1,700-square-foot houses on property that would have a density of 2.79 dwellings per acre simply isn’t compatible with nearby developments that generally have larger homes and densities closer to one dwelling per acre.
“The density differential is very substantial,” Unseld said. “That’s something we need to consider before we move forward. This is a fundamentally different type of neighborhood.”
Joye Beth Spinks, an attorney speaking on behalf of one of the neighboring property owners, raised concerns about the narrow road and the development’s possible impact on groundwater in the area.
“The people out here are not opposed to any development, but this is far beyond anything they would have expected,” Spinks said.
Kevin Brooks, the attorney representing the developers, pointed out that the possible building of a school would force improvements to Dillard Road. He also said the development conforms to the county’s Comprehensive Plan that encourages density where sewer is available.
Although the 20-acre parcel across from the proposed development has been owned by the Warren County Board of Education for more than a year, development of an elementary school could be years away.
“We bought that property in December of 2019 for planning purposes,” said Chris McIntyre, chief financial officer for Warren County Public Schools. “At this point, the new Rich Pond Elementary School will have room for 800 students, larger than a typical elementary school, so we feel like we have some time before we have to build.”
The application to rezone the 41.5 acres from agriculture to single-family residential was voted down unanimously, but other actions taken at Thursday’s meeting could lead to more housing in the fast-growing county.
A rezoning application expected to lead to as many as 204 apartments being built on a 15.7-acre site along Cherry Farm Lane near the Cumberland Trace Road-Scottsville Road intersection won unanimous approval.
The application to rezone the property from agriculture and highway business to multi-family residential was brought by Fawbush Properties LLC headed by James Spears and A Himalaya KY Properties headed by Chandubhai Patel.
Brooks, representing the developers, said the development would have a mixture of one-bedroom apartments of 600 to 700 square feet and two-bedroom apartments of 950 to 1,100 square feet.
He said the plan calls for a clubhouse of about 2,000 square feet and possibly a swimming pool.
The rezoning will go to the Bowling Green City Commission for final approval.
A nearby residential development, in a narrow vote, was approved for changes aimed at better addressing current housing needs.
Carter Crossings LLC, headed by developer Michael Vitale, was approved for a development plan amendment that will allow him to reduce the minimum home size from 1,800 square feet to 1,400 in a portion of a 198-acre development behind the site where a new Cumberland Trace Elementary School is being built.
The property is part of a project originally put together by developer Luke Williams in 2018. That plan called for up to 62 single-family lots that are classified in the most-restrictive RS-1A category and for up to 250 lots classified in the RS-1C category that is less restrictive.
Vitale, who has taken over the development from Williams, applied for the reduced square footage in the RS-1C portion.
Attorney Chris Davenport, representing Vitale, said the change is simply a reflection of demand in the real estate market.
“There is a significant demand for this size home,” Davenport said. “As the developer started to build this out, the demand in the market changed.
“We’re not changing the design requirements, and there’s no request for additional lots. It’s a perfectly reasonable request.”
Some residents living along the adjoining Shaker Mill Bend Road or in the nearby Cumberland Ridge subdivision don’t agree.
A few, like Jan Perkins of Shaker Mill Bend Road, joined the Zoom meeting to urge denial of the application.
“Lowering the square footage would detract from the value and beauty we have here,” Perkins said. “I don’t understand why they need to change.”
Perkins argued that statistics from the Warren County Property Valuation Administrator’s office don’t back up the contention that the smaller homes are in greater demand.
Vitale, who has developed or is continuing to develop hundreds of homes and apartments in the Bowling Green area, replied: “I can’t quote statistics, but I can tell you that today in Bowling Green and Warren County there’s tremendous demand for homes of this size.”
Vitale’s application was approved in a 5-3 vote, with commissioners Sandy Clark, Debbie Richey and India Unseld voting no while Velma Runner, Dean Warren, Tim Graham, Rick Starks and Shannon Blackburn voted to approve. Commissioner Mary Vitale abstained.
The planning commission on Thursday also approved an amendment to a development plan that will allow packaged liquor sales and fast-food restaurants on a commercial development just to the south of South Warren High School on Nashville Road.
The application made by the Woodland Station Development LLC headed by Kyle Shirley will also allow a greenhouse/nursery business.
“In trying to market this property, the developer found some interest from a fast-food restaurant and from a nursery,” said Davenport, representing Woodland Station Development.
The application passed 9-0.
Another development, this one along Cumberland Trace Road, also received approval for a development plan amendment that could lead to liquor sales.
C-Trace Flex LLC was approved unanimously for an amendment to allow packaged liquor sales on 4.5 acres at 280 and 288 Cumberland Trace Road.
Zach Williams, C-Trace Flex’s registered agent, said: “I have a liquor store that has put in an offer to buy one of the units.”
Williams said the development is currently home to a lawnmower sales and repair store, a fitness center and a hair salon.
Potentially the largest development on Thursday’s agenda was not heard by the commissioners.
The Magnolia Hills LLC headed by Renee Isaacs and property owner J & P Ballance Farms filed to rezone 97.8 acres just south of Buchanon Park on Nashville Road from agriculture to single-family residential in order to develop 330 single-family lots.
That application was withdrawn and hasn’t yet been rescheduled.