Despite presentations and complaints from several concerned residents, the Owensboro Metropolitan Planning Commission voted 7-1 Thursday in favor of rezoning land on Cambridge Drive and Sturbridge Place to allow 36 duplexes to be built in a subdivision by developer Gary Boswell.
The land was rezoned from single-family residential to multi-family residential to allow for the duplexes, which would allow 72 new families to reside in the neighborhood.
The main issues raised by the citizens in attendance centered on the increase in traffic and the upkeep — or possible lack thereof — of the homes with the additional 36 lots.
“We do not want anything but single-family homes down here because the majority of us are homeowners and we’d like to keep it that way,” said resident Gail Halloway Baldwin. “I know that people have to have a place to live, but don’t stick duplexes in the middle of a subdivision that is single-family homes.”
Boswell, who owns the land, said the initial plan for the more than 9.5-acre land was to build single-family homes; however, that desire has changed.
Boswell said that he wants to provide an affordable living area on the east end of town.
“There is little or no affordable housing on the east side of the county. I’m gonna do my best to make this something that we can be proud of,” Boswell said.
According to Boswell, the duplexes will be similar to that of Hobo Estates off of J.R. Miller Boulevard. He said that the model for the duplexes would blend well with the homes currently in the subdivision.
The lots are proposed to be 70×160 feet, which will provide for a significant amount of green space in the rear of the lots according to Charles Kamuf. He said the multi-family residential zoning is different than originally planned, but is still in compliance with the urban residential zoning and plans.
The land was initially plotted in 1963 before the development of Yellow Creek Park when there was no zoning ordinance, according to Kamuf.
Still, some neighboring families said they were concerned about how the new residences would affect their current living habits. They noted the road they would be building on has one entry which is heavily occupied by children playing in the road, and that there would be potential sewage and water backup with so many new families using those services.
Jason Baker, engineer on the project, said they have spoken to county engineers and fire services to find the requirements for the extensions, and both came back reporting that the lines are “adequately sized for this type of subdivision.”
“There’ll be an extension of the existing utilities there which is consistent with what you would do anytime you’re expanding a subdivision,” Baker said.
Two other concerns raised Thursday were that the number of residents would negatively impact the housing prices of the nearby homes, and that the renters would not be able to upkeep the homes in a manner that would reflect well on the neighborhood.
Boswell said with that complaint in mind, there will be a clause in the leasing agreement related to upkeep of the residence. Additionally, there is a county ordinance about yard maintenance by which residents will have to abide.
The zoning was approved by the board in a 7-1 vote — with Commissioner Greg Raque being the lone no vote. Raque said that even though he didn’t vote to approve the rezoning, he supports the development.
“It was developed [for a single-family residential]. It was originally defined, so in my personal opinion, it should have remained that way,” Raque said. “But also I understand the development side and I do support it.”