During a public hearing Monday, a Taney County Planning and Zoning Commission member said road conditions likely will have to be addressed before a proposed veterans housing project could move forward.
Brought before the board by developers Nick and Jo Byma, Veterans Victory Village, according to the project description, will be “an environment consisting of residential domes, where each dome is designed as a ‘community village,’ in a unique setting, complete with a myriad of activities for the entire family, while functioning as ‘neighborhoods,’ where the children can play safely and parents can socialize with each other.”
Victory Village is set to be situated on 139.4 acres at the end of Sunset Inn Road, and has been specifically designed for families of disabled veterans. As of right now, only veterans will be eligibly to purchase one of the units.
“We are facing something that is a big thing for Taney County, and it would be a big thing for any county,” Jo Byma said. “The biggest factor is what we’re doing this for, and that is to help veterans get back to normal as much as possible.”
Byma said she and her fellow organizers felt obligated to help the veterans.
“They fought for us and put their lives on the line for us,” she said. “When they come back and there aren’t homes for them to move into, that is very awkward.
“We want to create a place that is so geared to what they need at this point and they can develop it as they see fit.”
While no one in attendance questioned the reasoning behind the project, those who spoke in opposition cited poor road conditions as a major hurdle in getting the project off the ground.
“I’m for everything she says about helping the veterans and this plan is fabulous, but it’s going in the wrong place,” said resident Bob Schanz, who owns property off Sunset Inn Road. “There are 12 twists and turns and it isn’t hardly big enough for two vehicles right now. When you go around a turn, you come head on to a car, and once you pass Ladybug Lane it is a one-lane road.”
Schanz also asked why someone would want to put a large group of veterans in the middle of a secluded area.
“Put it somewhere you’re close to a hospital,” he said. “The way I look at it, they don’t want to put it close to anything because the plan says there is going to be stores, a barber shop ... someone is going to be making money off this thing.”
Schanz then asked who would be providing the funds for this project. Byma declined to provide any other information as far as who would be backing the project.
Schanz also asked the board to consider the high amount of road work that would go into the project, as well as the residents with children who already live near the proposed site.
“This is not the place for this,” Schanz said. “The road is bad, and they said they were going to widen it, but that is a lot of roadwork before you can even start this project. It is a beautiful project, but it should be somewhere else.”
Several other residents also spoke, citing the poor road conditions and the need to attain easements for right of ways from current property owners as major hurdles in completing the project.
Byma said she hasn’t spoken with any landowners about the possibility for easements to widen the road.
“We were waiting until we got the permits to put buildings on property,” she said. “But there isn’t much we can do until the county lets us know exactly how wide the road has to be. We will comply to whatever is necessary.”
According to Randy Haes, road and bridge administrator, a 50-foot driveway will be required from T Highway all the way into the property.
“The commission already knew about the problem with the road right of way, and that is the basic problem with the project,” said commission member Mike Scofield. “We think it’s great, but we are going to have to cure this road issue before we go forward.”
Even if the roads are repaired and the plan is approved, developers still face a lengthy list of things that need to be done, according to the Taney County development guidance code and the Taney County road standards, Planning and Zoning Administrator Bob Atchley said.
The list includes sediment and erosion control, stormwater management, land grading permit for all disturbances more than one acre, utility easements, improvements with scale of buildings, streets, on-site parking and utilities, a landscape recovery plan, a lighting plan and a traffic impact study to be submitted to the road and bridge department. Organizers must also properly submit all other forms and permit applications.
With the public hearing in the books, the next step is for the commission to vote on the issue.
“The regular meeting will be held Monday, June 17,” Atchley said. “At that time, this project will be reviewed and voted on by the planning commission. The regular meeting is a public meeting, but no further comments will be taken unless requested by the planning commission.”