Planned apartments worry Greene County residents

Published: Dec. 14, 2016 at 5:17 PM CST
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Southwest Springfield keeps growing while vacant land keeps disappearing. A neighborhood near Rivercut golf course is not happy about plans that could bring hundreds of new neighbors right across the road.

John Eells has lived on Farm Road 139 south of Springfield for about 10 years.

"I bought this because I like my space. I don't want to be packed in next to everybody," says Eells.

He's not alone.

"Several of the homes on north 139 are 1-1/2- to 3-acre and some are 5-acre properties," said neighbor Gary Smythe.

The proposed development along Ward Branch Creek and the Greenways trail would include 18 10-unit apartment buildings and 21 single-family rental cottages. The developer, King Built Properties, says it would be a high end, gated community.

"I'm not against development, as long as it's single family. It needs to remain single family," said Eells.

Residents say narrow Farm Road 139 already has multiple blind spots, and, with about 200 rental units added to the area, they believe traffic would become a major concern.

"It's not set up to handle that," said Eells.

A traffic consultant hired by King Built Properties determined the farm roads are sufficient to handle the load. The developer's attorney says a unique storm water detention system will address concerns about the neighboring flood plain.

"We've seen the bottom here totally covered with water," Eells said.

Developers say engineers would address concerns about the sanitary sewer system, and they don't believe the development would negatively impact nearby Riverbluff Cave.

"It has some unique archaeological finds in it, and any development that's done out here in this property has to be done where it protects the cave," said Smythe.

These neighbors' minds are made up.

"I'll fight it," said Eells. "Should it pass, I would probably sell, because it's destroying the reason I live here."

Developers are holding an informational meeting on Thursday night, Dec. 15, at 6:30 at the Library Center on South Campbell Avenue.

Next Tuesday night, Dec. 20, is the scheduled hearing at Greene County Planning and Zoning. It's at 7 at the Greene County Historic Courthouse.

"We need a big crowd. It's the only way we believe they're going to get the message," said Eells.