South Jefferson County is about to get a little more residential as 70 new homes will be built in an area recently rezoned for them.
A lot on the southeast side of South Kipling Parkway and West Quincy Avenue has been empty for some time and was originally slated for commercial use in the South Plains Area Plan. Based on that, Jefferson County staff recommended that the commissioners deny the rezoning request.
Despite that, the county's planning board approved an exception and recommended the commissioners approve the rezoning from commercial to residential, which the board did unanimously on June 24.
Jack Bestall with Bestall Collaborative, who represents the applicant, Quincy Lake, said the group still needs to have a final plan approved with the exact dimensions for each lot. That process should take about 90 days, he said, with construction starting soon after. Richmond American Homes is under contract to build the homes.
"We're very pleased with the way the process went," Bestall said. "It was a challenging process, I know the sensitivity of reducing commercial areas."
In addition to the 70 homes on the nearly 11-acre lot, a little more than one acre is set aside for commercial use.
The housing development will have two entrances, one off of South Iris Court and another off of West Radcliffe Drive. The commercial lot will have entrances off of Kipling and Quincy.
Planner Aaron McLean is part of the staff who recommended denial for the project and said that the applicant's plans weren't in sync with the metropolitan plan for the area.
"We looked at the comprehensive master plan and what the recommendations are," McLean said.
Commissioner Don Rosier, who voted to approve the rezoning, said there wasn't much interest in a commercial lot on that land.
"It's sat there for 12 years now with no development," Rosier said.
Feedback on the project was mostly positive, with the majority of residents supporting residential development for that parcel. Rosier complimented Bestall for his ability to be clear with residents about what the development would bring to the area.
Resident Keith Herner, who lives near the proposed development, said he's glad there will be homes there rather than retail. He also said he was pleased that it would be single-family homes rather than apartments.
"We don't need more apartments in out area," Herner said, adding that some apartments were added behind Costco last year.
Herner also said he doesn't think the commercial portion of the lot is necessary and hopes it will be just residential.
Rosier said it is not often that the commissioners go against a zoning recommendation, but that it does happen from time to time. He said it was most important to do what is best for the community, rather than stick to a metropolitan plan.