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A plan to develop a 56-lot subdivision on this property along Twin Bridges Road in the Alvaton community, which narrowly passed a City-County Planning Commission vote despite being heavily opposed by neighboring residents, will go to an "on-the-record" hearing before Warren Fiscal Court Jan. 19. (Grace Ramey/photo@bgdailynews.com)

The fate of a vigorously contested residential development along Twin Bridges Road in Alvaton could be decided next week.

With more than a dozen residents of the Twin Bridges Road neighborhood turning out for an early-morning meeting, Warren Fiscal Court voted Wednesday to schedule an “on-the-record” hearing on the development for 8 a.m. Jan. 19.

That hearing should determine if the 21.4-acre, 56-lot subdivision proposed by developer Narendrakumar Patel will proceed as planned, be altered or simply be voted down by the magistrates.

It could put to rest a dispute that dates back to October, when Patel’s application to rezone the acreage at 8039 Twin Bridges Road from agriculture to single-family residential came before the City-County Planning Commission of Warren County.

That application was approved by the planning commission, but only by a 4-3 vote after a lengthy hearing during which several neighboring residents voiced opposition to the plan.

The six fiscal court magistrates are also divided on the issue. Their vote on the first reading of the rezoning, originally scheduled for December but delayed until Wednesday while attorneys tried to reach a compromise, was 4-2 for the rezoning.

Magistrates Tony Payne, Doug Gorman, Mark Young and Rex McWhorter voted for the development. Ron Cummings and Tom Lawrence voted against it.

Immediately after that vote, the attorney representing those opposed to the development requested the hearing before the magistrates take a second and binding vote on the rezoning.

“This matter was the subject of an extensive hearing at the planning commission,” attorney Matt Baker said. “Given the narrow margin and the opposition from the neighborhood, we request a hearing on the record.”

County Attorney Amy Milliken said an “on-the-record” hearing means the magistrates will consider only the record from the planning commission hearing and the arguments that Baker and Patel attorney David Broderick will make next week.

Each attorney will have 10 minutes to state their case, and the magistrates will have the opportunity to ask questions.

The magistrates must also view the video record of the October planning commission hearing on the rezoning, a hearing that saw eight residents of the Twin Bridges Road neighborhood speak against the development that is near Drakes Creek and Phil Moore Park.

One member of the opposition, 87-year-old Jo Jean Scott, said scheduling a hearing gives her and her neighbors hope.

Although the proposed development is near the Drakes Ridge, Bates Farm and Poplar Grove subdivisions, Scott and her neighbors argue that Patel’s proposal for 56 houses on 21.4 acres isn’t compatible with an area that has traditionally been rural.

“We’re very hopeful that something can be worked out and that the number of houses can be adjusted down so that it’s more compatible with the established homes,” Scott said.

“We treasure our neighborhood, and we hope what we’re doing will be beneficial for the traveling public. We want something better than row upon row of houses put up indiscriminately.”

Broderick argued successfully at the October planning commission meeting that Patel’s plan to develop houses of at least 1,800 square feet with two-car garages is consistent with nearby developments.

“This doesn’t change the character of the area,” he said.

Baker and Broderick have so far been unable to reach a compromise that would make the development more palatable to Scott and her neighbors, but Milliken said negotiations will continue in coming days with her acting as a mediator.

If no compromise is reached, the magistrates will vote on the existing development plan. However that votes goes, it might not be the end of this rezoning battle.

Milliken said Baker and his clients could appeal to Warren Circuit Court if the magistrates vote in favor of the rezoning. Likewise, Broderick would have the option of appealing if the magistrates vote against his client’s plan.

– Follow business reporter Don Sergent on Twitter @BGDNbusiness or visit bgdailynews.com.

– Follow business reporter Don Sergent on Twitter @BGDNbusiness or visit bgdailynews.com.