A plan to possibly develop more than 100 apartments on a 5.5-acre tract along Russellville Road near Springwater subdivision has earned approval from the City-County Planning Commission of Warren County despite forceful opposition from nearby residents.
Meeting Thursday in the Bowling Green City Commission chambers, the planning commission voted 5-0 to approve the application of Jason Mills of 31W Holdings LLC to rezone the 5.5 acres at 5463 Russellville Road from agriculture to general business.
The development was ill-defined, calling for a mixture of commercial and multi-family residential uses or all multi-family on the property that borders John D. Jones Road.
According to the development plan, the residential portion of the site will have a maximum of 20.9 dwelling units per acre, meaning as many as 116 apartments could be built if the site contains no commercial portion.
That density, plus the fact that the property is home to a historic structure, led many nearby residents to speak against the development.
“We already have trouble getting out onto John D. Jones Road,” said Holly Watwood, who lives on Amber Creek Lane in Springwater subdivision. “Now you’re wanting to put apartments next to our single-family homes?”
Others argued that building apartments near their subdivision would erode property values and create traffic problems along a narrow road.
“My house looks out on this beautiful farm,” said Pamela Riddle, who lives on Aquifer Court in Springwater subdivision. “I don’t want to look out on apartments. I don’t want 400 people living that close to my house.”
Others raised concerns about the fate of the farmhouse on the property.
According to the staff report put together by planning commission staff, the building known as the James Kelley House dates to the 1840s and is on the National Register of Historic Places.
“It’s sad to think that a home built in 1840 could be demolished,” said Melissa Jones, who lives at 5491 Russellville Road.
After hearing such opposition, Mills made some concessions voiced through his attorney that satisfied the planning commission members eligible to vote on this application.
Under new planning commission guidelines, only the four city of Bowling Green and the four Warren County commissioners were eligible to vote on this matter, and three of the eight were absent.
The planning commission has 12 members, with four of them being single representatives from each of the county’s four small cities.
Chris Davenport, the attorney representing Mills, agreed to concessions that included allowing any philanthropic organization desiring to move and preserve the historic structure to do so by March 1, 2022, at that organization’s expense.
He also agreed that use of vinyl siding would be restricted to 25% of the structures on the property, and he committed that his client would build a six-foot privacy fence to screen the multi-family property from the neighboring single-family residences.
The rezoning will go to the Bowling Green City Commission for final approval.
Also at Thursday’s meeting, the commissioners voted 7-0 to approve rezoning the 1.84-acre property at 530 Corvette Drive from highway business to light industrial in order to accommodate the needs of a new tenant for an 18,000-square-foot building on the property.
According to property owner James Cook of Cave Mill Station LLC, the building had been home to the Office Resources Inc. office furniture retailer for nearly 15 years.
The planning commission staff report indicates the building will be repurposed for light manufacturing, assembly and distribution of gun components.
Rezoning of the Corvette Drive property will go the Bowling Green City Commission for final approval.