Susan Hood

Susan Hood speaks at the Sept. 10 Planning and Zoning Commission meeting.

It looks like the third time won’t be the charm for plans to build a subdivision at Hwy. A and Sandy Valley Road east of Hillsboro.

The Jefferson County Planning and Zoning Commission voted 5-2 Sept. 10 to recommend denial of a rezoning request and preliminary plans for a subdivision that would include 248 homes and 25 duplexes on a 155.3-acre site at the location.

The P and Z board makes recommendations on land-use issues in unincorporated parts of the county to the Jefferson County Council, which has the ultimate authority on such matters and will consider the case at an upcoming meeting.

About 40 people, most of them opposing the plans, attended the meeting. The number of people allowed in the assembly room at the Jefferson County Administration Center was limited because of social-distancing guidelines mandated in county buildings to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Bridle Creek Properties LLC of Ste. Genevieve submitted the plans for the subdivision. The same developer had submitted an application for a rezoning of the area in 2019, but withdrew it before a hearing could be scheduled because planning staff had concerns about the proposed density and a preliminary plan wasn’t included.

Different developers had submitted a plan for 191 homes and 32 duplexes on the northern part of the property – almost 100 acres – in 2007, but the County Commission denied that application.

The developers appealed the ruling, but the Jefferson County Circuit Court ruled the denial was proper.

“What has changed from last year to now?” asked M. Beth Petry, one of seven neighbors who spoke against the latest proposal.

Dan Govero of Govero Land Services in Imperial, who represented Bridle Creek Properties, said the new plan is less dense after the developers fully incorporated 56 acres south of the original lot that it bought from the Hillsboro R-3 School District for $400,001 last year.

Govero said the developer agreed with the planning staff’s condition that the project be capped at 282 homes, making some lots larger. The lots would range from 10,000 square feet to 40,000 square feet, and 65.9 acres would be reserved as common ground.

The larger lots, as well as the duplexes, would be situated along Hwy. A, he said.

Govero said the development would be similar to Lockeport Landing, a 176-home subdivision on 85 acres located across Sandy Creek Road from Bridle Creek.

He said homes in the subdivision would be priced at $300,000 to $500,000, with each duplex unit likely selling for around $250,000.

Govero said the Bridle Creek developers also agreed to foot the bill for a traffic signal at Hwy. A and Sandy Valley Road.

Shawn White, the senior traffic engineer for CBB, which conducted a traffic study, said a light would be warranted once Lockeport Landing is fully built, regardless of any additional development in the area.

Neighbors said the additional homes would tax the narrow county road.

“People fly down Sandy Valley at 70 mph,” said Joseph Hoven. “Traffic has quadrupled over the last four years. We will have some issues with that.”

Petry said the traffic study’s conclusion that most people will exit the new subdivision to Hwy. A is flawed.

“People who live in this area don’t go to Hwy. A,” she said. “They go to Jarvis Road or Goldman Road.”

Michael Siebert also challenged the traffic study’s assumption that assigned two cars to every home in the new subdivision and estimated 216 vehicles would be added in morning peak driving time and 289 in afternoon peak hours.

“I think it’s likely going to be higher,” Siebert said. “We’re probably talking 650 to 750 cars in the whole area.”

White said multiple vehicles from the same home typically aren’t driven around an area at once because of different school and work schedules.

Susan Hood asked whether a soil study would be done because she doesn’t believe the topsoil is deep enough.

“There will be a lot of blasting and noise involved in this,” she said.

Govero said comprehensive soil testing would be done before construction, adding that the developers plan called for very little grading and filling and would leave many trees and other natural features undisturbed.

Planning commissioners Mike Huskey, Danny Tuggle, Gene Barbagallo, Jessie Scherrer and Larry Adkins voted to recommend denial of the plans. Greg Bowers and Dan Smith cast dissenting votes.

After the meeting, Govero said he didn’t know what his client’s next move would be.

“This is very similar in nature to Lockeport Landing, which is right across the road,” he said. “I guess they’re not in favor of growth in Jefferson County.”