Thursday, May 6, 2004

Boone spurns 128-house Buffalo Trace subdivision



By Brenna R. Kelly
The Cincinnati Enquirer

BURLINGTON - For the second time in two years, the planning commission has rebuffed Bold Homes' proposal to build a subdivision in rural Boone County.

The Boone County Planning Commission voted 9-2 Wednesday night to deny the developers a zone change needed to build a 128-residential subdivision on 53 acres near Richwood.

The vote was met with applause from the crowd of about 50 residents, who fought the subdivision proposed for Chambers Road and Decker Lane.

"We are just happy that it turned out the way it did because we've done a lot of hard work and spent a lot of money on it," said Rodney Reel, who has lived in the area for 15 years. "Our neighborhood won't change now - it'll stay country."

Bold Homes wanted to build a development called Buffalo Trace using a "clustered" design with 128 homes on 44.3 acres, nine acres of open space and one home on a nine-acre lot, called a gentleman's farm.

"We are disappointed," said Mike Kegley, vice president of Bold Homes. "With it being such a new concept, as far as conservation development, there's a lot of things the public and even the commission needs to come to terms with and learn the proper techniques."

Last month, two zone change committee members cited the farm as the reason for turning down the plan, calling it an "illusion" included only to make the density appear lower.

The farm would be privately owned, with only 11 houses having a view of the farm.

"This was a way that the neighborhood could enjoy the view," Kegley said, "but it also would protect that from development forever."

Monday, Bold Homes revised its plan, eliminating three houses to give more homes a view of the farm and asking that the plan to be returned to the zone change committee. Committee chairman Randy Barlow denied that request at Wednesday's meeting, then made a motion that the full planning commission turn down the zone change.

Commissioners Kim Bunger and Richard Knock voted to allow the zone change. Commissioner Janet Kegley did not attend the meeting because she is married to Mike Kegley of Bold Homes.

The Planning Commission will now send its recommendation for denial of the zone change request to Boone County Fiscal Court, which has the final say on zone changes.

A similar subdivision plan was submitted by Bold Homes 11/2 years ago. That plan was also turned down by the Planning Commission, but Bold Homes withdrew the request before it went to Fiscal Court.

To fight the latest plan, residents raised money to hire Covington attorney Phil Taliaferro.

"The Planning Commission did the honorable, courageous and decent thing," Taliaferro said, "in voting down this outrageous attempt to begin the destruction of rural life in Boone County."

Residents say they would not oppose a subdivision that matched existing homes, which sit on two acres or more. "We're not against development," said Harold Jetter. "We are just against inappropriate development."

E-mail bkelly@enquirer.com




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