FLOYD COUNTY — The Floyd County Commissioners have denied a rezoning request for a proposed development known as Villages of Valley View.

The request was to rezone the property from Residential Suburban to Residential Urban in order to build 55 patio homes on 13 acres of land in the 3000 block of Lawrence Banet Road, near Valley View Golf Course. The RS designation allows homes to be built on 12,000 square feet while RU allows for homes to be built on 6,000 square feet.

The measure to rezone the 13 acres passed the Floyd County Plan Commission by a 6-1 vote last month. Attorney John Kraft, representing Villages of Valley View LLC, told the commissioners that at a recent public meeting several people spoke in favor of the rezoning and the proposed development. He said with an aging population in Floyd County, people are looking to downsize into something smaller like a patio home. The patio homes in the proposed development would be in the $300,000 range.

He said in his 30-plus years as an attorney, he had not seen that kind of excitement level from public comment, calling it "amazing." He said there were at least 10 people ready to put deposits down. But it wasn't the development he was trying to sell the commissioners on, only the rezoning to allow it to happen.

The commissioners, however, denied the request by a 2-1 vote.

Citing some reservations from the plan commission staff, and following the county's comprehensive plan and zoning laws, Billy Stewart and John Schellenberger voted against the request. Shawn Carruthers voted in favor.

"I can't support this at all," Stewart said.

Schellenberger said the high density and lack of green space, along with increased traffic the development would bring, led him to the no vote.

"Biggest issue I had is that it is too dense," Schellenberger said.

The original plan was to build 57 lots, but that was reduced by the developer to 55 to provide green space and reduce the daily traffic count. But it wasn't enough to sway the commissioners.

Kraft said several times during the meeting that the commissioners were only to consider the re-zoning request, not the development which still had to get approval from the plan commission.

The county planning staff had some issues with the proposed development, one being the high density and lack of open space and the other the traffic impact it would have on U.S. 150 and Lawrence Banet Road. Justin Tackett, with the county's building and development services department, said he would like to see no more than 40 or so units built on the 13 acres. Despite his report, the plan commission approved the rezoning request and was supposed to consider the development at its Monday meeting, but that will now be tabled.

"I put a lot of weight on what the staff says," Schellenberger said.

Several residents spoke against the development prior to the commissioners' vote.

"The reason most of us moved out there will disappear," said Christopher Scott, whose home backs up to the proposed development. "It [scenery] would become a sea of roofs and street lights. It doesn't seem like it will do anything for my property value."

Unless the ruling is contested in court, developers will have to design a development with less density under the RS classification.

Chris Morris is an assistant editor at the News and Tribune. Contact him via email at chris.morris@newsandtribune.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NAT_ChrisM.

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