The Owensboro City Commission unanimously approved Tuesday a revised version of its private development policy during its regular meeting at City Hall.

With the passage of the second reading, the policy will mirror the county's policy, a consistency that wasn't there prior, city officials said.

The policy revision was something the Home Builders Association of Owensboro advocated for and worked with the Commission for about 10 months to take it from a proposal to an ordinance.

"The county adopted a policy conforming with this about five years ago and the city wanted to wait and see to see how it worked out," said Richard Stallings, executive officer with the Home Builders Association.

Under the old city policy, builders were required to have upfront money in the form of a surety performance bond as a guarantee all sidewalks were completed within a development before the bonds could be released.

The new policy change no longer mandates that all sidewalks be done within a development such as a subdivision. Instead, bonding will only be required for sidewalks of homes granted a certificate of occupancy. And potentially no bond would be required if the sidewalks can be built when the home is ready for occupancy. However, all sidewalks would have to be completed within five years whether or not all of the lots were sold or if the development is finished.

Manuel Ball, Jagoe's vice president of land, said the old policy was too restrictive when it came to having upfront money for building subdivisions.

"It frees up a lot of credit on projects," Ball said. "It's very substantial."

The city has also revamped its maintenance bond requirement within the policy.

Under the current guidelines, developers must provide a maintenance bond that's 5% of the development's total cost regardless of whether any of the infrastructure has been done or not.

Under the proposed policy, the maintenance bond of 5% will only be required on what's not completed or not approved.

Jagoe is in the middle of building its second phase of homesites within Bluegrass Commons, one of the city's newest subdivisions off Barron Drive. The first phase included 64 lots or single-family homesites, which was done under the old policy.

The second phase will have 28 single-family attached homesites.

"This (policy) should go into effect and monetarily will help this next phase as well," Ball said.

Commissioner Larry Conder said there's no longer confusion or worry by builders about which policy they fall under whether in the city or county.

"You have the playing field leveled," Conder said. "So the developers, whether they're from here or come from outside, they know the same rules apply regardless of where they're going to be placing their buildings or their homes. That helps dramatically."

Don Wilkins, dwilkins@messenger-inquirer.com, 270-691-7299

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