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SHEPHERDSVILLE – Bullitt County is an excellent place to live and to raise a family.
Residents are part of a growing, thriving and progressive community that is located close to the amenities of a large metropolitan area while still having the advantages of a rural and friendly atmosphere.
In a nutshell, that is the vision statement of Bullitt County.
After spending a couple of meetings on formulating the vision statement, consultant Kriss Lowry unveiled the newest version to those attending a recent meeting of the comprehensive plan group.
With a few tweaks, the vision statement will be part of the land-use plan to be unveiled later this year.
A majority of the most recent meeting centered around research done for chapters completed on environmental considerations and housing and historic preservation.
Lowry, whose firm Kriss Lowry and Associates was retained to oversee the land-use plan revision, presented statistical information on the county. Included in this portion of the plan was mapping for topography, soil types and even earthquake areas.
The mapping included mineral resources, including locations of oil wells and abandoned wells. Maps were also included on wetlands and flood areas.
Air quality was discussed, as was noise from Louisville International Airport and Fort Knox.
Even the Indiana Bat, commonly an issue when development occurs, was mentioned in the presentation.
One of the topics which drew discussion from the audience was the flood plain.
Lowry said that 64.75 percent of land in the Shepherdsville corporate boundaries is in the flood plain. In Lebanon Junction, that number is nearly 40 percent.
When she prepares the wording of the comprehensive land-use plan, Lowry said it would be mentioned that this area would not be suitable for development.
But developer George Miller said there is still a lot of construction that occurs in Shepherdsville. Simply being in the flood plain does not prevent development, said Miller. Instead, it means that certain requirements, such as building to mandated elevation levels, must be met.
If the work is not done right, Miller said agencies like the state Division of Water and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will not give permits.
He felt it was not right to put in the plan that flood plain areas should not be developed.
Lowry said her bigger concern on development was in Lebanon Junction, which is impacted by the Fort Knox noise and the flooding issue.
Another topic which drew some comment was in the area of noise.
James Stansbury, who lives near a pair of rock quarries near Bells Mill Road, said that there is a lot of noise which comes from the crushers used in that type of industry.
Blasting and crushing are two major contributors to noise pollution, said Stansbury.
Lowry said she would try to get some information to place into the plan on the quarry situation.
Railroad noise is another concern and she said there should be no residential development within 100 feet of a line. But there are no regulations, although she felt some better buffering is needed.
Planning commissioner Thomas Givhan wondered if there was any safety data on what distance should be recommended.
Lowry said she would research that also.
Stansbury also raised his concerns about sinkholes in the county. He said there needed to be more research on the matter to protect the residents.
Housing and Historic Preservation
Lowry presented a number charts on the housing situation in the county.
Overall, the 2010 Census revealed that Bullitt County had 29,318 housing units, of which 27,673 were occupied. Eighty percent were owned and the rest were rental units.
The highest concentration of rental units occurred in Shepherdsville, with 39.4 percent. The highest percentage of vacant structures was in Lebanon Junction at 8.4 percent.
Of the 29,101 housing units in the American Community Survey from 2007-11, 80.2 percent were single-family dwellings. The number of manufactured housing units decreased by 3.7 percent from 2000 to 2011. The latest figures have the county at 2,813 mobile units.
The same survey revealed that 9.7 percent of the county’s homes were built before 1960 and 2.2 percent use wood or have no primary heating source. Only .3 percent of the homes lack complete plumbing facilities.
Using the county’s planning figures, over 7,994 building permits were granted from 2000-2012. The most were issued in Mount Washington with 2,671. The unincorporated area with 2,430 permits was next with Shepherdsville third at 2,194 permits.
The trend in residential permits during that period of time showed a peak of 955 permits in 2004. The lowest was in 2012 when only 309 permits were issued for residential development.
One concern for Lowry is the projections that population will grow to over 102,400 by 2030 and the number of housing units will not keep pace or that there would be enough vacant land to accommodate the growth.
In looking at housing with public assistance, only 855 units were available as of April in the county. Shepherdsville has 423 units and Mount Washington has 324.
Lowry outlined some of the historic structures in the county and noted that Lebanon Junction actually has a historic district outlined.
The next meeting of the comprehensive plan review committee will be at 6 p.m. on Thursday, July 25, at Paroquet Springs Conference Centre. It is open to the public.
Also, all the maps and chapters presented by Lowry are available at her website (krisslowry.com) and go to the Bullitt County site.