Dozens Of County Residents Fight To Keep Housing Unit Out Of Their Neighborhood

By: Marie Luby Email
By: Marie Luby Email

Some eastern Kentuckians want to keep an affordable housing unit from being built in their neighborhood.

Dozens of Owsley County residents signed a petition asking officials to stop the project.

The people who live on Fish Creek Loop in Booneville say the housing unit could hurt the environment, and their property values.

Thomas Barrett is worried a new affordable housing unit built on the site of an old dump could be dangerous for his neighborhood.

“Stuff's been hauled in here, dumped, stirring it back up and everything. The asbestos, from what I can find is settled and don't need to be dug into or it'll have to be cleaned up,” Thomas Barrett said.

Kentucky River Community Care purchased the site to build 16 units for homeless families and victims of domestic violence.

Executive director Dr. Louise Howell says the site is safe.

“There was a complete spectrum of investigatory strategies that they used to determine the safety of the site and it passed,” Louise Howell said.

Howell and Barrett agree the issue also concerns the SOCIAL environment.

“We don't have no problem with them building a housing unit, and they need a place for abused women but not in the neighborhood where the abusive husband will be hunting them down,” Barrett said.

Howell says KRCC hasn't had such problems in any of its existing 34 units in other counties.

“There is a misinformation that's being bandied about, exchanged, and I think it's unfortunate,” Howell said.

Barrett collected 44 signatures from neighbors against the project.

At Monday's fiscal court meeting, Judge-executive Cale Turner said there's no zoning law to stop KRCC from going forward.

However, the project could come to a halt if asbestos surfaces during excavation.

“If they uncover anything then we'll go back down and take some samples and see what's there,” Robert Stidham said.

Officials at the local division of waste management say they've inspected the site twice, and found no exposed debris that could be hazardous.

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