The Boone County Commission voted unanimously Tuesday night to allow Fred Overton Development Inc. to begin construction on a new subdivision in western Boone County. The 34-house development has been in the works for the past four years and will be built at 6001 West Gillespie Bridge Rd. in Perche Hills.
During the meeting, Commissioners Daniel Atwell, Ryan Parry, and Janet Thompson all agreed Overton had done everything necessary for the commission to approve of his plans. Parry said he felt the development was “inevitable”, while Thompson felt the meeting was largely “ministerial”. Atwell encouraged Perche Hills residents to be optimistic about the new subdivision.
“It’s not all gloom and doom,” he said.
Several residents of Perche Hills voiced their concerns about the project. One of the main issues was development extending into the Perche Creek 100-year floodplain. Multiple residents worried this would cause Gillespie Bridge Rd. to flood more often, lengthening emergency personnel response times and necessitating a costly project to raise the road above flood levels. Other Issues raised were a turn lane heading into the subdivision potentially causing traffic problems and conserving the natural environment around Perche Hills.
Overton said his company and partners will take steps to ensure development will not significantly affect flooding levels.
“There’s only five percent of the property that is in the floodplain,” Overton said, “and we will elevate that property three to five feet above the flood level. It will be recertified by Crockett Engineering. Those certifications will be submitted to the county, to the state, and to FEMA, which will then remove it from the floodway fringe map. The homeowners will not even be required to have flood insurance.”
Jana Stephens, head of the Perche Hills Neighborhood Coalition, has been one of the most vocal opponents of the development. She said while she is not surprised by the commission’s decision, she does not expect Overton to take residents’ worries into account.
“I think that it’s possible for him to build an attractive subdivision, like Dan Atwell says,” Stephens said. “But there’s no reason for him to listen to our concerns. It’s not his job.”
Stephens said she will continue to work with other concerned residents to try and protect the floodplain. In a press release, the Perche Hills Neighborhood Coalition said it will seek to protect a pond being filled by Fred Overton Developments under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act. Construction on the subdivision is set to begin in late November.