Bowling Green’s need for more housing inventory took a step toward being met Thursday night, at the cost of more encroachment onto rural farmland.
Despite opposition from neighboring property owners, the City-County Planning Commission of Warren County approved a Future Land Use Map amendment and zone change likely to lead to development of a 300-lot single-family subdivision on 97.8 acres at the southern border of Buchanon Park along Nashville Road.
Meeting via Zoom teleconference, the commissioners voted 10-0 to approve the FLUM amendment and 9-1 to approve rezoning the acreage from agriculture to single-family residential. Only Debbie Richey, the Smiths Grove representative on the planning commission, voted against the zone change.
The rezoning application, which still must go to Warren Fiscal Court for final approval, was brought by property owner Joe Neal Ballance and the Magnolia Hills limited liability corporation headed by Michael Vitale and Renee Isaacs.
The development that is now almost certain to happen will help meet a pressing need for more houses in a red-hot real estate market that has seen housing inventory decline for months.
But it doesn’t meet the desires of residents living near the development, many of whom joined Thursday’s online meeting to express their opposition.
Carl Chaney, whose dairy farm and Chaney’s Dairy Barn are across Nashville Road from the development, pointed out that the future land use designation for the property wasn’t changed three years ago when the FLUM was updated.
“They had the opportunity to change the FLUM and they didn’t,” Chaney said. “They wanted to keep the rural areas of Warren County.
“I don’t think a 300-lot subdivision does that. There’s nothing like that in the area. I don’t see where the compatibility comes in.”
Chaney said he was concerned about the impact of water runoff and the increased traffic on a road that can get extremely busy when tournaments are being held at Buchanon Park.
“The number of cars coming out of that park is ridiculous,” Chaney said. “There are just so many vehicles that this road can handle. I think there are problems to come.”
Chaney’s daughter Elizabeth Lunsford, who manages the farm’s milk processing operation, said she was opposed to the housing development even though it could help the family’s retail business.
“What happens when those neighbors decide they don’t like it when we spread manure or decide they don’t like being near animal agriculture?” she said. “We’ve made a multi-million-dollar investment in building a milk plant.
“I’m concerned that something going in across the road could damage that.”
Attorney Chris Davenport, representing the developers, argued that the area near the South Warren Middle and High School campus is “no longer remote.”
“The FLUM change is consistent with what’s happening there,” Davenport said.
After hearing from the local residents and consulting with his clients, Davenport did make some concessions to make the development more palatable.
He said the minimum square footage of the houses will be changed from 1,200 to 1,350 and that the houses will have two-car garages instead of the one-car garage called for in the original development plan.
When asked by Richey, though, Davenport said his clients weren’t willing to reduce the number of lots.
“We need to stick to 300,” he said. “If we can’t get that number of lots, it’s probably not going to work economically.”
The Nashville Road project was one of two housing developments near the South Warren schools approved during Thursday’s meeting.
The Skees Development Group headed by Luke Williams won unanimous approval for a rezoning from agriculture to planned unit development that would bring 69 single-family residential lots and 70 duplex-like attached single-family dwelling units to a 31-acre parcel at 608 Skees Road near the Stuart Farms subdivision.
According to the development plan, the 69 single-family lots will have houses of at least 1,400 square feet with two-car garages.
The attached duplex-like residences will have a minimum of 1,200 square feet with one-car garages. Williams said his intention is to sell instead of rent those residences that he likened to a condominium.
The Skees Road rezoning will go to Warren Fiscal Court for final approval.