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Simple zoning request not so simple after all

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By Thomas Barr

 PIONEER VILLAGE – More housing opportunities appear set to be offered in northern Bullitt County.

But it took some time to get a favorable recommendation from the Bullitt County Joint Planning Commission on what appeared to be a common request.

Developer Jim Walser successfully received a favorable recommendation from the commission on his request to rezone 8.68 acres from IG General Industrial to R-3 Residential.

The property is located off the John Harper Highway at Morningside Drive in the city of Pioneer Village. That city’s council will make the final decision on the ruling.

Walser, whose family has developed residential and commercial property in the county for over 50 years, said the economic times determine the proper use for the land.

His plan is to build, as they sell, 15 four-plex buildings, a duplex and maybe a three-plex.

Apartments are planned but eventually they could be sold as townhomes, if the market calls for that, said Walser.

Walser said the buildings would be similar to those he built on Morningside Drive, across from the proposed development.

Although he is no longer involved in the development, commissioner and Hebron Woods developer John Miller said he was concerned about protecting those residents who built very expensive homes. Some of those homes would back up to the apartment complex.

Wayne Wilkerson, who owns one of those expensive homes, voiced his concerns.

His main concern was the lack of privacy from apartment dwellers being able to look over any type of privacy fencing into the back yards and having the apartments very close to the property line. He was concerned it would only lower the value of his home and his property.

On the flip side, Miller acknowledged that using the property for its current heavy industrial use would not be appealing to resident, either.

Walser said he would not want to hurt the existing residents. And he would build a quality development.

Attorney Eric Farris, who assisted Walser in his presentation, said that the request does meet the comprehensive plan and that there had been a move toward residential, including a recent rezoning for a major apartment complex on East Blue Lick Road at the John Harper.

After much discussion on various non-issues, the commission unanimously reached agreement to send a favorable recommendation to the Pioneer Village City Council.

Stipulations on the rezoning would include the installation of a four-foot earthen berm with 6-foot spruce trees, where residential property borders.