Apartments may be built; roadwork to be required

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By Thomas Barr

      HILLVIEW - David McMullan has seen too many vehicles leave the road at a sharp curve on East Blue Lick Road.

     In fact, he keeps pictures on his cell phone of the various accidents.

     Now, a developer is looking to add nearly 200 apartment units just south of the curve.

     With promised road improvements, the Bullitt County Joint Planning Commission gave a favorable recommendation to rezone 8.5 acres from B-1 Highway Business to R-3 Residential.

     The development is located across from the McDonald's on East Blue Lick Road.

     Several residents spoke in opposition to the plan by Brooks Crossing LLC to build one- and two-bedroom apartments on a portion of a larger tract bordered by the John Harper Highway and East Blue Lick Road.

     McMullan said that traffic in the area is impossible at this point and he couldn't see how 400 cars would be able to get in and out of the development, especially during certain times of the day.

     A traffic light would provide some relief but there were no plans for a signal.

     "Blue Lick can't handle it," said McMullan.

     And while there will be a second entrance off John Harper, McMullan said few people will use it.

     His other concern, which was also voiced by several residents off Blossom Road, was having a three-story building looking over into their property.

     Norma Whitehead inquired about the possibility of low-income apartment rentals but Marty Carney said that would not happen.

     She also wanted an 8-foot fence around the property.

     Theresa French, who also lives on Blossom Road, didn't understand why a major apartment complex would be built with so many houses vacant.

     Expecting the question over traffic, attorney Eric Farris and his client have already been working with the state Department of Transportation.

     Engineer John Miller said that the entry point would be across from Centre Drive. He said although no final approvals have been given, the state would expect the developers to build a 12-foot driving lane from the John Harper intersection to the entrance.

     Much of the congestion occurs from motorists trying to turn left into Brenton Way. With the additional driving lane, Miller said some of that congestion would be alleviated.

     He expects the state to also require a lane to taper past the apartment entrance for another 150-plus feet.

     Commissioner Larry Watkins, who lives just north of the development, said that traffic is a major concern. Another issue is flooding, which occurs along the stream during any substantial rain.

     Retention/detention areas will be needed, according to Watkins, who wanted a commitment from the developers to not release any more water at any higher rate than previously exists.

     Miller said the state Division of Water has already approved the size of bridges and culverts to be constructed along the stream.

     Watkins said he wanted to work with the developers but there must be some stipulations placed on any rezoning recommendation.

     The first stipulation dealt with the widening of the road and that there would be no entrance approved on Blue Lick Road until the improvements are made.

     Another stipulation would be to have a six-foot fence along the northern and eastern boundaries of residential property. Any existing trees would try to be saved.

     Any lighting on the residential side would be directionally pointed down.

     There would be no increase in the volume or rate of water release on the surrounding properties. This would require any retention or detention basins to be built, if needed.

     With those stipulations laid out and agreed upon by the developer, the commission voted 7-3 to send a favorable recommendation to the Hillview City Council, which will have the final vote.