Monday, February 24, 2003

700-home project nears vote

Some neighbors object to plan's size

By William Croyle
Enquirer contributor

BURLINGTON - A local builder wants to develop a 727-home upscale subdivision on 291 acres in rural western Boone County over the next decade.

Some nearby residents say that's too much for the booming area's schools and sewers to handle.

  Boone County Fiscal Court meets at 5:30 p.m. March 25 to hear arguments and discuss the issue.
  Equal time (about 20 minutes) will be given to both sides on the issue.
  The court can vote on the issue at the March 25 meeting, or postpone the vote as late as April 15.
The Boone County Planning Commission voted last month to recommend fiscal court approve the application of Arlinghaus Builders to rezone 291 acres on the south side of Ky. 18, about two miles west of the county courthouse. Fiscal court will hear arguments and possibly vote March 25.

"Yes, it's a big development, but it's not out of line with what we've done before," said Arlinghaus Vice President Bob SchroderArlinghaus has about 150 homes left to build in the 700-plus-home Hanover Park subdivision in Burlington, a couple of miles southeast of the new proposed site.

If the zone change from agricultural estate to suburban residential one is granted, Arlinghaus will build the hundreds of detached single-family homes - about 2.5 units per acre - and a swimming pool. It also would provide 50 acres of green space throughout the subdivision and set aside 13 acres for the school district to purchase at cost for a future school.

"We're going to bring water out that way, and having a new school in that area would be a tremendous advantage. Plus, more development brings improved roads," Schroder said.

Two dozen residents in the area, many of whom own two-acre or larger lots surrounding the proposed subdivision, spoke against the development at a planning commission meeting last September.

  About Boone County growth:
• Boone is Ky.'s 2nd-fastest growing county, behind Spencer County near Louisville
• Boone is the 8th largest county in the 120-county state by population.
• Boone County population grew by 28,402 people or 49.3 percent from 1990 to 2000.
• Boone had 31,258 households in 2000.
• The proposed development would increase the number of households in Boone County by 2.3 percent.
  Source: US Census 2000
"This is a little two-lane road we've got that winds and bends, and they want to put over 700 homes here?" said Cam Kassner, who has lived in her Ky. 18 home for 36 years and would be directly across the street from the subdivision entrance.

"I have no problem with progress,'' she said. "It's the fact that they want to put that density on this road right in the middle of a rural area."

Arlinghaus agreed to six conditions imposed by the planning commission that addressed issues such as sewage treatment, the increase in school population, and traffic.

The company agreed to build no more than 100 homes in Hanover and in the new subdivision each year so the capacity of the Allen Fork Pump Station on Ky. 18 won't be jeopardized.

That figure could rise as Sanitation District No. 1 upgrades the pump station or once the new Western Regional Treatment Plant is constructed in Belleview (expected to open in 2008).

But developer Schroder said the number should stay around 100 annually no matter what.

"We're a local company that builds all over in Kenton and Boone counties," he said. "We're not going to stop what we're doing everywhere else for this subdivision."

Arlinghaus also must make land available in the subdivision to the school district.

Boone County Superintendent Bryan Blavatt was unavailable for comment.

However, Blavatt did state in a letter to the planning commission on Sept. 23 that he felt the developer's plan to build the subdivision slowly was pliable and that the district was "...encouraged that a possible long-term proposal could be reached which would receive our support."

As for traffic, Arlinghaus will be required to construct left and right turn lanes from Ky. 18 into the subdivision.

Schroder also said that a traffic study paid for by Arlinghaus recommends that the eastbound and westbound lanes at the four-way intersection of Ky. 18 and Ky. 338 near the courthouse be adjusted so that the left-lane traffic can only turn left and the right-lane traffic can turn right or go straight.

"They said that one simple adjustment will improve traffic flow," said Schroder.

Genny Guthrie, who lives in Emerald Glen subdivision off Ky. 338, isn't buying it.

"Yeah, we've heard all about that traffic study," she said. "If you go down there at 7 or 7:30 every morning when people are going to work, there's a huge backup. It's a mess. There is no way that intersection can handle that much more traffic."

Kevin Wall, the planning commission's director of zoning services, said future improvements to the intersection may have to include more than simple lane adjustments.

"It's no secret in the traffic study that the intersection is a problem," he said. "The analysis does recommend signalization at some point." Wall said a traffic signal would have to be approved by the state. That's more likely to happen after the state has seen improvements, such as the lane adjustments, made to the intersection., he said.

The fiscal court meeting at 5:30 p.m. March 25 will be held on the second floor of the administration building.

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