Op-Ed: Why I Voted Against Hebron Development

Jesse Brewer is a Boone County commissioner

At our most recent Boone County Fiscal Court meeting on Aug. 27, a majority of the fiscal court approved, by a 3-1 vote, a new residential development off Old North Bend Road comprised of condos, townhouses, and patio homes. 

Of the four legislative members on the fiscal court, I was the only dissenting vote for this project for a multitude of reasons, which I will outline below. 

First, let me say that I support thoughtful development projects that satisfy our community’s housing needs. I am also a big proponent of property rights and believe that all property owners should be able to sell their property for the highest value they can get, provided that the future use of this property complies with our zoning code and/or is consistent with our comprehensive plan and does not create a hazardous or unsafe environment in our community. 

The vote on this new development off of Old North Bend Road, which is located on the site adjacent to the existing Parlor Grove and Cardinal Cove neighborhoods, was a very difficult one for me to consider. The types of homes proposed for this site are not only nice and aesthetically pleasing, but they also are a type of housing product that we lack in the Hebron area and for which there is a demand and need.  

The current site is zoned to allow for 112 single-family homes. The proposed development calls for 161 units. However, our planning and zoning experts stated that the proposed development would be less dense than allowed by the current zoning because of the demographics of the people who typically purchase these types of homes. While I am not a planning and zoning expert, I have 14 years of experience in real estate, including working as real estate broker, investing in real estate, and managing properties.

Accordingly, I find little fault with this logic.  

Even though I am not an expert in planning and zoning matters, I was elected as a Boone County commissioner to vote on issues that come before the fiscal court based on what I believe is right and wrong for this community. In carrying out these duties, I try to use logic and base my decisions on my life experience and professional experience to try to come to the best conclusions I reasonably reach from the information I have before me.  

In the Hebron area alone, Boone County has approved more than 2,500 building permits for construction projects. With approval of this new residential project in Hebron, these developers now can build these 161 housing units whenever they are ready to do so without any further approvals by the fiscal court or planning commission.

It is no secret that Hebron already suffers from congestion and overcrowding issues. While I understand that relief is on the way with new road construction projects in the works, such as the Graves Road interchange, I personally do not believe now is the right time to add additional housing units and traffic to the existing density and congestion issues in this area. In the future, when these road improvements are completed and other infrastructure is put in place to address these problems, then my opinion on this issue could possibly change but not at this time.

Once again in the interest of transparency, I just wanted to let you know where I stood on this issue and share with you the reasoning behind my stance.

Written by Boone County Commissioner Jesse Brewer