Clayton voters could have final say on new subdivision proposed for 43 acres of farmland

In an effort to prevent the construction of 125 single-family homes on a 43-acre parcel of land at the southeast corner of Phillipsburg-Union Road and Haber Road in Clayton, a group of residents want to shift the power to reject the project from the will of council to that of the city’s voters.

As part of a grassroots campaign with the slogan “Keep it Rural,” residents have successfully gathered enough signatures to place on the March 2024 primary ballot a referendum allowing voters to decide on the development plan by Arbor Homes.

The proposal, submitted in March by Clayton Properties Group Inc., also known as Arbor Homes, calls for the rezoning of the 43-acre site, which is located west of the Irongate Estates subdivision, to facilitate the construction of 125 homes within a subdivision to be known as Salem Springs.

Council ultimately approved the rezoning request and preliminary development plan in a 4-3 vote during its July 20 meeting.

The referendum initiative surpassed the 595 signature threshold to be placed on the ballot, securing a total of 1,169 signatures, according to Doug Bias, a Clayton resident and one of the referendum initiative’s leaders.

Council is now scheduled to vote Thursday to either put the referendum on the ballot for the March 2024 primary or vote to rescind its approval of the preliminary development plan, according to Councilman Kenny Henning.

Bias, who lives on Haber road near the proposed site, said the group is not against development as a whole.



“We don’t own that land, so we know we don’t have control of it and we want the owner to be able to sell,” he said. “We just take issue with what Arbor Homes has proposed.”

Bias said he he feels there are several flaws within the Arbor Homes proposal, including that there are water issues that need to be addressed in this area of the city.

“A lot of of yards have flooding that goes from the west side of Haber, across Haber Road, to the east side where the development is planned, so we have concerns about that worsening,” Bias said.

Additional worries include traffic congestion, stress on the school system, and that the proposed homes don’t mesh with the surrounding housing and land styles.

“Having at least two-acre lots would help keep some likeness to the area; even if you’re not going to keep it a farm field, it’d be better than putting a sardine can right across the street,” Bias said.

Henning, who was one of three council members to vote no on the proposal in July, said he did so based on constituent feedback.

“We had dozens and dozens of residents attend numerous council meetings to voice opposition and no residents voicing any support for this development,” Henning said. “This has been a consistent (reaction) toward development on Haber Road; it’s a very rural setting and residents are fearful of increased traffic, along with issues that could arise from not having the proper infrastructure in place.”

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