Norton Commons expanding into Oldham County

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By Amanda Manning

Twelve years after being first approved, Norton Commons is officially expanding into Oldham County with a new section called Hamlet.

In December 2005, Oldham County Planning and Zoning approved a zoning change and master plan for Norton Commons. In February 2006, Oldham County Fiscal Court also approved the zoning map amendment. Since then, it has been delayed five times.

On August 22, Norton Commons presented the first development plans for the new section at the Oldham County Planning and Zoning Commission meeting. They were approved 10-3.

Hamlet would be an expansion of Norton Commons to the north, near Sleepy Hollow Road, also known as Highway 1694. The property’s official address is 6212 Schuler Lane, which will border the Oldham County and Jefferson County line.

The current Norton Commons is Kentucky’s first traditional neighborhood development (TND), also known as a village style development. The Jefferson County neighborhood is home to around 1,000 residences in close proximity to each other, with restaurants, shops, medical offices and grocery stores all in the neighborhood.

“The Hamlet is an important part of what is a much larger development. There are some unique details to Norton Commons,” Patrick Dominik, Vice President of the design firm Sabak, Wilson and Lingo, said during the hearing.

Dominik then explained that there are three villages within Norton Commons.

“Each of these villages have what we call a village center,” he said.  “As you radiate out from that village center, that’s what we call the village general, these are a little bit larger lots. The important part of these villages is you can walk from anywhere, it’s a 5-minute walk to downtown.”

The new village would be no different. Phase one would include 111 single-family homes within 48 and one half acres. Homeowners would be able to walk to the North Village Center in Jefferson County, according to Dominik.

Once complete, the new village will cover 158 acres. Each single-family home would be constructed of brick, stone, stucco or wood.

Hamlet, similar to the other villages at Norton Commons, would only be accessible from Jefferson County. Unlike the other villages, Hamlet isn’t expected to have a swimming pool or amphitheater, but will have hiking trials, sidewalks and bikeways that access these facilities.

Restaurants were not mentioned in the development plan handbook. 

Two residents who live in the Hidden Creek Neighborhood, which this development would eventually abut, spoke against it.

Joel Turner, who has lived in Hidden Creek for 33 years and is on the board of directors in the neighborhood, said his neighbors have dealt with this before. “This is not a new issue for us, we’ve had two proposed subdivisions in the past 10 years and neither one of those were approved,” Turner said. “My main concern is the traffic, Norton Commons has shut down Chamberlain Lane.”

Multiple questions were raised during the hearing about the traffic study for Jefferson County. Documents from 2005 state that a traffic study was conducted in 2005, and that “there are no direct access points from the Oldham County portion to any roads in Oldham County, therefore an additional traffic study was not required.”

“I just have a question on how we can accept a 12-year-old traffic study as being valid. I don’t know if we have the proper information to approve this,” commissioner Sam Finney said.

“This is an important issue,” Turner said. “This is larger than just Norton Commons. This is larger than just the people who live down Schuler Lane. It’s about the future of Oldham County and a very critical sensitive area that all of you need to be aware of before you make a decision.”

Questions were raised whether Oldham County Schools has adequate capacity for the children who would move into the Hamlet section of Norton Commons and if the roads could fit buses and emergency vehicles.

“Being at school capacity is a reason to deny, is that not correct? That’s where the problem lies, getting the children to and from school on inadequate, overcrowded roads,” Finney said.

At the Oldham County Board of Education meeting on Aug. 28, the board approved the schools capacity for phase one of the Hamlet Section in Norton Commons.

In the 10-3 vote, Joe McWilliams, Sam Finney and Berry Hampton opposed the development.