Hoping to meet a housing need in Warren County, Bowling Green homebuilder Barrett Hammer and his Southside Development limited liability corporation are planning to put a 215-lot subdivision on 48 acres along Morehead Road in the southern end of the county.
Hammer and the property owner, the Mary Louise Smith Family Limited Partnership No. 1, were recommended for approval last week by the City-County Planning Commission of Warren County for rezoning the 48-acre tract from agriculture to single-family residential.
The proposal, which passed on a 9-2 vote after a number of residents along Morehead Road joined the online meeting to express their opposition, will go to Warren Fiscal Court for final approval.
The development calls for a maximum of 215 homes that will have at least 1,200 square feet of living space and two-car garages. It will connect to the 42-lot McLellan Crossings subdivision that Hammer is developing and is described in the rezoning application as an extension of that development.
With homes in the development expected to sell for prices in the $200,000 range, it has the potential to meet a growing need in a Warren County housing market that has continued to be active even during the economic downturn brought about by the coronavirus pandemic.
The Realtor Association of Southern Kentucky, in fact, reported near-record residential sales volumes in June and July. Those sales volumes have shrunken the available home inventory.
“Generally speaking, any and all residential builds would be welcome to our market,” RASK CEO Jim DeMaio said in an email. “Our market has set a new record for lowest inventory in residential units for sale, every month, this summer and early fall. There is tremendous need for more options for buyers, as there is great demand for more residential properties for sale. Our local market is currently at the lowest inventory we’ve seen.”
The development by Hammer might be a great fit for the current housing market, but it wasn’t welcomed by all residents along Morehead Road.
Several joined the online meeting to speak against a development they see as adding to the congestion along a road that has become busier as the southern end of the county has experienced explosive growth.
Amy Willingham, who lives on Morehead Road, said the homes proposed for the development are compatible with the nearby Greystone subdivision but not with homes along Morehead Road.
“This is a desirable area,” Willingham said. “I’m appalled that we’re not talking about a traffic light at the end of this road. I’m completely opposed to this.”
Willingham was referring to the waiving of a Traffic Impact Study by the Warren County Public Works Department. In lieu of such a study, the developer agreed to install right-turn deceleration lanes at the two access points on Morehead Road into the development and to widen the intersection of Morehead Road and Nashville Road to create dedicated left- and right-turn lanes.
“A turn lane from Morehead Road to Nashville Road won’t help without a traffic light,” said Joe Upchurch, who lives on Cleveland Drive, a connector to Morehead Road.
Kevin Brooks, the attorney representing the developer, responded: “The applicant would be delighted if the state had asked for a traffic light at Nashville Road. They didn’t, so we’ve done all we can do.”
Another Cleveland Drive resident, Emily Graham, believes the turn lanes won’t be enough.
“There’s already a lot of heavy traffic on that road,” Graham said. “People use it as a cut-through from Nashville Road to Russellville Road. Adding more cars is going to create more problems.”
The commission voted 9-2 to approve the rezoning. Only Plum Springs representative Sandy Clark and Smiths Grove representative Debbie Richey voted against the application.
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