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Land rezoned for Briar Hill office, residential condos on Ky. 22

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By Elizabeth Troutman

A good reputation proved to be a powerful asset for developer Bob Jones Tuesday night.

Oldham County Fiscal Court approved Jones' request to rezone 32 acres for Briar Hill Woods, a multi-use development plan for condos and 15 family homes near Crestwood.

Magistrates said they based the decision on their impressions of Jones' previous work in the county.

Briar Hill Woods, located at the intersection of Briar Hill Parkway and Ky. 22, will include 15 lots for single-family homes, 54 residential condos and office condos.

The 15 lots will range from 17,000 to 21,000 square feet. Jones also included a six-acre park, which he vowed to donate to the county in his development plan.

The development is projected to bring the county $250,000 in revenue through real estate taxes.

Jones faced what magistrates called the 'strongest' opposition to a development the court has seen all year, which was presented by neighbors of Briar Hills Estates.

Magistrates praised Jones for his other projects in the county, including Briar Hill Estates.

Oldham County Judge-Executive Duane Murner said he is proud to drive out-of-county visitors through the scenic development.

"I am influenced by the quality that has already been there," Murner said of Briar Hills Estates.

The court voted 6-3 to rezone land for Jones' development, with Magistrates Scott Davis, Rick Rash and Steve Greenwell voting against the plan.

"I can support the (zoning) change because I know the people - the engineering firm and the developer," Magistrate Bob Deibel said.

Members of the Briar Hill Estates homeowners' association, represented by lawyer Berry Baxter, argue soil at the site is too weak for high-density development and a nearby creek would be harmed by construction. Baxter is also a resident of Briar Hill Estates.

The creek is under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and is in the park area of the plan.

The group of about 20 residents who gave testimony also pointed out that the Orchard Grass Wastewater Treatment Plant does not have capacity to serve the future development.

Peggy Duffy, a soil engineer in Jeffersonville, Ind., said she determined the land wasn't suitable for development after investigating the area.

"It's a very sensitive site where water is key," Duffy said.

Oldham County Planning and Zoning Commissioners rejected Jones' request for rezoning on Oct. 23, but commissioners recommended a list of 19 binding elements for the plan.

At fiscal court Tuesday, Jones agreed to P&Z's binding elements. The developer is required to gain approval from the Oldham County Sewer District to use the Orchard Grass Wastewater Treatment Plant, conduct a technical geological survey of the land and gain approval from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Darrell and Karen Hanson attended the meeting to support Jones' development.

"I believe this is a great idea," Karen Hanson said. "Mr. Jones have proven record of providing things that are upscale in the community."

E-mail us about this story at: elizabeth@oldhamera.com