Danville mayor eyes sewer project to promote more growth

October 26, 2003|LIZ MAPLES

Three up. Three down.

Every large-scale retail and residential development pitched to Danville-Boyle County Planning and Zoning Commission and Danville City Commission in recent memory has struck out.

Mayor John Bowling wants it to stop. He wants the City Commission to decide where the city is to grow by deciding where to extend sewerage.

He wants to start by looking at the south side of the Danville bypass. That line would eventually run all the way to Junction City.


The only large-scale development proposed for that area at this time is Mike Montgomery's. Two others that have come before P&Z, R.A. Chinn and Frankel Farm, were rejected or withdrawn.

Montgomery wants to put in department stores, retail stores, restaurants, houses, apartments and offices. All would be enclosed in a planned community.

Twice he has been turned down for necessary zone changes by P&Z and City Commission. One reason he was given by both bodies was that there aren't sewage lines to his property.

Bowling said he believes that with sewerage comes development and with development comes jobs.

"If we don't grow, we'll die," he said. "The City Commission could take the lead and say this is where we want to see growth go."

Bowling wants to find out how much the line to the south side would cost. Then he wants to talk to residents on Gose Pike.

Homeowners there have hired their own attorney to stop development on the south end of town. They have opposed both of Montgomery's attempts to rezone his land.

They have said that they moved out to the country and they prefer to keep it that way.

To put sewerage there, the city would need to cross the Gose Pike residents' property.

"We would need to talk to the Gose Pike people -that's critical," Bowling said.

The Gose Pike neighborhood doesn't want the sewerage line. Resident David Overstreet said that the construction would disrupt their lives and tear up their trees.

He said Danville shouldn't be trying to help Junction City, that it should leave Junction City to deal with its own problems.

Without the line, the south end of Danville couldn't be developed further. With Wal-Mart SuperCenter already at the intersection of two major highways, U.S. 150 and U.S. 127, local developers have said that other retail stores and restaurants want to locate there.

Bowling said development would make up for lost jobs from ATR Wire and Cable closing.

"Our revenues are flat," Bowling said. "A lot of people in Danville are out of jobs, and I don't want to cut services and raise taxes, but we will have to if we don't grow."

Montgomery estimates that the city has lost $47 million in property taxes in the last four years by not allowing him to build.

"That's to say nothing of payroll taxes," he said.

In 2002 the city received $1.2 million total in property tax.

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