By Zirconia Alleyne

For the Eagle Post

Oak Grove residents and several city council members showed up to Monday's special-called meeting of the Community Development Services Board in Hopkinsville to voice their concerns for a new housing development that is planned on Kentucky 115.

Building developer Bill Belew was looking for a favorable recommendation from the CDS board to Christian Fiscal Court to rezone two tracts of 95.7 acres on Kentucky 115 near Avondale Road, Artic Avenue, Valleyview Drive and Good Hope Cemetery Road in order to build lots for houses.

Part of the undeveloped property is currently zoned as one-family residential district, and Belew would like it to be zoned as one- and two-family residential district. The other portion is zoned as an arterial commercial district, and Belew wants it to be zoned as multi-family residential district.

Belew was mum about what types of homes he plans to build there and how many, but, logistically, there could be as many as 358 houses built there if rezoning is approved.

"That's worst-case scenario," Belew said. "I have no plan of building duplexes. All I'm trying to do is build smaller lots."

CDS Planning Services Coordinator Angela Herndon gave

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Housing

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presentations on both tracts in question, and her reports included comments from the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet with concerns about access on Kentucky 115.

Residents of the roads where this potential housing development will intersect were eager to voice their concerns as well.

Oak Grove City Councilwoman Jean Leavell, who lives on Good Hope Cemetery Road, said she has known for years that the property across the street would be developed into housing, but she's torn on how it will work out.

"I have no problem with single-family homes being built on that property," Leavell said. "The transportation part -- Good Hope Road was just a farm-to-market road that has asphalt put on it, and I don't think it's built to where it can handle the traffic from that property."

Leavell said it would be nice to see a plat that has a different outlet for the new housing or a plan for possibly widening Good Hope Cemetery Road to support the additional traffic.

Gino Garcia, who also lives on Good Hope, said the traffic flow has become dangerous for pedestrians, and Arthur Gates, a homeowner on Valleyview Drive, said the volunteer fire department is already overwhelmed serving the current residents.

"I've seen cars right across from the fire department burn completely up before the fire department arrived there," Gates said. "So, if we're going to put more houses in there, it's going to impact that area for the fire department and the police department."

His daughter, Alexis Gates, was concerned for the ecosystem that would be razed for more housing.

"I remember when they took the trees down behind Good Hope Cemetery, we had a lot of mice come into our house," she said. "We also have a lot of deer that used to live in that wooded area ... deer running around in the street is hazardous when you have a lot of traffic."

The board asked Belew for more information about the project, but he didn't have many concrete answers Monday.

"This is going to take years to develop this out, but we just want to have the possibility of building something there," Belew said.

CDS board member Steve Keel said he needed more information before he could vote in favor of changing the zone.

"We're being asked to vote on a change so you can create more lots -- and I get that, everybody's in business to make more money -- but I don't really know what I'm voting for because I don't have a plat or any conceptual idea of how many lots and what's the location," Keel said. "We don't know what we're changing it to, what we're adding or what the outcome would be in the long run."

The board ultimately decided to send both cases back to the Plan Review Committee to get more information from Belew.

In other business

• The board approved the preliminary plat for housing lots on 32.69 acres of Concord Lane. The previous developer began building what was going to be called Concord Farm, but stopped the project. The new owner, Hal McCoy, is planning to finish the project. McCoy thanked the board for their support. "We intend to do some good out there to provide very good housing at an affordable price in a product segment that we feel like is not currently met at this time," McCoy said. "We want to attract new people to Hopkinsville, and we're hoping this project will do that."

• The board heard a request from CDS Director Steve Bourne to install a glass security door and buzzer at the CDS entrance to the Hopkinsville Municipal Center on Main Street. Bourne estimates the project will cost $20,000; however, board member Dan Thomas asked Bourne to get another cost analysis for the project.

• The board also approved a uniform application for AT&T to install a cellular tower near Jeff Adams Road in Hopkinsville.

The Community Development Services Board is a joint county-city board of eight that is tasked with making recommendations to Christian Fiscal Court and Hopkinsville City Council as it relates to public projects as well as commercial, industrial, residential and recreational development.

Reach Zirconia Alleyne at 270-887-3243 or zalleyne@kentuckynewera.com.

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