This is not the first fight Duncan Hill residents have waged to protect their peace and quality of life. It’s not even their first fight against local accountant and Danville Board of Education member Tim Montgomery.
A loosely organized group of about 25 came together for a second meeting Thursday evening at Hope Full Gospel Church to share information and to formulate a strategy to halt rumored plans by Montgomery to begin construction of a manufactured home park there.
“We all know what that means. It means trailer park,” said second-generation resident Kerry Kenley, unofficial spokesman of the group. “And we all know what ‘trailer park’ means. It means property values will plummet and our peaceful neighborhood will be invaded. Right now, we don’t worry about our homes or cars getting broken into or anything — could be that folks just think we’re too poor to bother with.”
According to Montgomery, though, any aspirations of building a trailer park were scuttled weeks ago.
Montgmery, who is selling the property at the end of Duncan Hill Road to J.L. Banks, owner of All Around Tree Service, on a land contract, said today he and Banks met recently with Danville-Boyle County Planning and Zoning Commission Director Paula Bary. Montgomery also sat in on meetings regarding the recently adopted flood plain maps, which include the Duncan Hill property.
Montgomery said the lack of water and sewer service combined with the potential for flooding caused Banks to give up on the idea.
Montgomery said he was unaware of Thursday night’s meeting at the church. Neither he nor Banks was at the meeting.
The light and congenial mood between the neighbors and church members and other interested parties gathered at the church in no way lessened the resolve to protect their community from what they agree would be an unacceptable intrusion.
According to Kenley, the humble white-painted cinderblock church that serves as the spiritual center of Duncan Hill once housed an “outlaw nightclub.”
“We fought,” he says. “We fought, and that club is now a church. You can’t just sit on the sidelines and watch while your neighborhood falls apart. You have got to take an active role and let folks know where you stand.”
Months of pressure from Duncan Hill residents resulted last month in police and fire personnel being dispatched during a Danville City Commission meeting to remove a gate Banks had installed on the property
Supporters of the group’s efforts include attorney Mark Morgan, who is representing their concerns, so far, without pay.
Morgan reported talking to fire and rescue officials who are strongly opposed to manufactured homes being placed at the end of a dead-end road. Responding to an emergency would be difficult and dangerous to both rescue workers and pedestrians on the narrow and winding road.
This, says Morgan, is only the beginning of what he sees as a responsibility being ignored by Bary.
At issue are documents dated “April 19th, 1921” that Bary, according to Morgan and others in attendance, believe “grandfathers” 17 acres for development.
Morgan contends the documents are nothing more than a deed with a drawing attached that was never platted or recorded and that Bary is using “Lot of Record” to thwart due process for Duncan Hill residents.
Morgan will seek due process to make the residents’ case that the “bottom land” in question is in a known flood plain, has no city services in place, violates the city’s own ingress and egress statutes and threatens the integrity of nearby Clark’s Run Creek, among other factors.
“This is not a black-white issue,” said Kenley, “or even a Duncan Hill issue. What happens to Duncan Hill happens to Danville. We are not strangers and we are not cowards. This is not our first fight.”
Bary could not be reached today for comment by press time.
Staff Writer David Brock contributed to this article.