West Paducah residents attended a city of Paducah meeting Tuesday to address concerns over a residential development.
A PUD — planned unit development — is planned for 122 duplexes or homes on 27 acres at 3750 Pecan Drive, bounded by Hill Terrace, Lindberg Court, and Oakcrest, Pecan and Springwell Drives.
Mayor George Bray said the city would work with developer Purchase Realty Group.
“We appreciate all the comments. The tough thing for us is balancing our need for growth and housing, of which there’s a significant need,” Bray said. “A $250,000 starter home — that even seems like an oxymoron to me, but that’s the economy we’re in. We have to balance all of these things. We’ll take all comments under consideration.”
The city must approve street dedications for the project’s second and third phases. The Planning Commission approves the first phase.
City Engineer Rick Murphy addressed residents’ concerns on traffic impact and stormwater runoff.
“When you look at paths in and out this area, it’s not a one-in, one-out,” Murphy told a few dozen in the audience. “There will basically be a starburst of where people can leave or come, so from a traffic point-of-view, I don’t see any reason for a traffic study. Are we going to require a traffic study for any subdivision that goes in?”
The crowd expressed some concern with Murphy, who explained his background with interstate design for larger commonwealth areas. He referenced Fayette County’s preemptive marking for future road development.
“We don’t have that problem in Paducah; this development is relatively small in comparison to what those roads can actually handle,” he said. “I know traffic; you need to know about traffic to do these jobs.”
On Feb. 6 and at a neighborhood meeting last week, some claimed they’d spent thousands on fixing or preventing water damage.
Murphy said the city was improving its stormwater criteria and retrofitting certain existing developments.
“The developer will be held to a high expectation,” he said. “We’re going to apply these enhanced developments. My job is to make sure adjacent property owners are not impacted negatively for anything. Are there going to be differences? Yes, there will be change. Some have stormwater problems but have had them since the day they were built.”
“Our storms are deluge and come all at once,” he said. “The definition for a 100-year event is a one-% chance you have that rainfall, it doesn’t mean a storm that comes once in a 100 years. Since I’ve been here, since 1998, we’ve had no less than eight 100-year events.”
Senior City Planner Joshua Sommer recounted the Feb. 6 Planning Commission where they approved the subdivision plait.
He said The Sun published a notice on Jan. 31 and mailed letters to adjacent property owners but not renters.
“The population is finally increasing, and this subdivision would help increase that trend,” Sommer said. “This is the largest subdivision in 14 years. It meets a specific goal in our comprehensive plan.”
Organizer Cindy Jones spoke about residents’ concerns: “We’re not against development or asking to stop development, but we’re asking you to consider the density of the homes.”
“When it was made a PUD, you did, in effect, change the zoning,” she said. “We’re an R1, and by changing it to a PUD, it’s gone from 12,000 to 7,000 (square feet). It’d probably be zoned something else if it wasn’t a PUD.”
She showed excess-stormwater photos to commissioners.
“The property in question is higher in elevation than our property. The amount of water is going to increase dramatically,” she said. “We’re getting more rainfall because of climate change, more frequently. We were told by the city engineer that when water got on our lot, we were responsible.”
Jill Love said she’d spoken to the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife about the Migratory Bird Protection Act.
“We have pileated woodpeckers, barn owls, bats, red-bellied woodpeckers, pollinators … It’s very important to have a stand of trees there,” she said. “That stand is off the highway; you need something to collect carbon and buffer sound. There’s 17-to-20 herds of deer there and possums; it’s been a sanctuary for them. We’re not against development, but it needs to be done with thought. To take down all the trees in the neighborhood like that and make it wall-to-wall houses? There’s no greenspaces. If you drive along Pecan, there’s hardly any trees left.”
Dennis Herricks, who said he was an engineer at USEC for 39 years, asked for retention ponds to be installed before any trees cleared.
David Curtis alluded to what we termed a lack of transparency.
“There had to be some type of build-out … where were boots on the ground for area residents?” he said. “Why weren’t they asked to attend this meeting? Rick Murphy is my friend, he does an excellent job, but I think there was a lack of transparency … we’re not engineers.”
Prior to the subdivision discussion, members passed a municipal order for opioid settlement participation agreements. The city authorized similar participation in Nov. 2021 and received settlement funds from Jannsen and Distributor settlements.
“What this does is authorize the mayor to sign participation agreements,” City Clerk Lindsay Parish said. “The city wants to participate if they go forward; it lets different companies see how many communities want to participate in the settlement. To get any future money, we have to sign these participation agreements.”
Bray called the problem “enormous.”
“We’ve seen the issue firsthand,” he said. “The city needs to determine how best to use the funds and where we can make a difference. We’ve received some funds and need to see our total. This commission needs to make decisions on how to spend those funds.”
Members approved the consensual annexation of 2631 Holt Road for a possible B3 General Business Zone by the Planning Commission.
Bray referenced possible upcoming state legislation that would entail a moratorium on city-county annexation.
“I want to go on the record as saying that, while annexations sometimes get bad press, I want to remind all of us that economic development and growth in this state has been driven by the growth of cities and amenities offered,” Bray said. “Over the long run, we have to balance everyone’s interests.
“Cooperation and collaboration between the city and county have been excellent. We’ve had ongoing discussions about how we’ll cooperate on future growth. We’re working jointly on a comprehensive plan … where we look at our growth areas and needs and plan together.”
Members approved a 2023-34 resurfacing program contract with Jim Smith Contracting, LLC.
Murphy said prices had quadrupled — “everything, except for our budget.” He listed an asphalt price of $103 per ton. It used to be $28.
The city accepted a $200,000 Community Development Block Grant on behalf of the Four Rivers Recovery Center for alcohol and drug treatment services. City Grant Administrator Hope Reasons said it was a long-running grant.
Members accepted an application for an $8,828 911 Services Board Grant.
The city discussed an upcoming task of roof repairs for the Paducah-McCracken County Convention and Expo Center.
“Long-term, we need to take care of our asset,” Bray said, explaining the building’s old showroom lounge is still city-owned. “That roof is our responsibility, and unfortunately, the degradation contributes to some issues. Costs need to be updated, it’s not pretty; we’ll be looking at the best options.”
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