From the new Stoney Creek multi-purpose development off US 25 east of White Station Road, Joe Lick Knob and the West Pinnacle are visible to the west and south. To the north lies the Bluegrass plain.
“Not only can you see the beauty of our county from here,” Berea Mayor Steve Connelly said, “you can also see the future.”
Local and state officials joined private developers Friday afternoon to cut a ribbon that opened for construction the first total Energy-Star development in Kentucky, and perhaps east of the Mississippi River.
Every property deed in the 300-acre development requires that every building for a federal Energy Star conservation rating as well as Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design standards, said Dave Billups, who officiated at the ceremony.
Stoney Creek will be much more than an efficient residential subdivision with space for 500 residential units, including some duplexes, it will be a self-contained community with space for small businesses, professional offices and institutions, he said.
Not only will residents save energy when heating and cooling their “super-insulated homes,” they will save fuel by not having far to drive when they need to shop.
The developers have set aside a site which they plan to offer “at a very reasonable price,” to the Madison County School Board the next time it needs to build another elementary school in the area, Billups said
The planned-unit development also includes 100-acres of green space that will include walking and bike trails, and every street will have side walks, Billups said. Deed restrictions will prevent development of the green space, he said.
Long-range plans call for an assisted living center in the development.
The developers also involved Eastern Kentucky University Prof. Alice Jones and some of her environmental science students in planning the community.
The students got some practical experience while the developers benefited from Jones’ expertise, Billups said.
The students also worked with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to restore a stream that flows through the property, Jones said.
Because Stoney Creek lies just within the northern boundary of Berea’s city limits, sewer service will be provided by Berea Municipal Utilities.
Power for the all-electric homes will be furnished by Bluegrass Energy.
Construction of the first model home in Stoney Creek has just begun. A brochure distributed by the developers shows 11 building styles that can be customized, ranging in size from 1,200 to 1,680 square feet. The cheapest lists for $133,500 with the most expensive at $180,500. All include Energy-Star appliances.
The highest monthly electric bill for similar homes elsewhere in Madison County, served by Kentucky Utilities, was less than $90, Billups said.
Madison Judge/ Executive Kent Clark and Richmond Mayor Connie Lawson both spoke at the ceremony and said the development should be a model not just for Richmond and the rest of the county, but for the state.
Because Madison County has been gaining about 1,000 families every year for the past several years, Clark predicted the development will fill rapidly, especially as more workers are hired at the Blue Grass Army Depot.
Lee Colten, assistant director of the state Department for Energy Development and Independence, said Stoney Creek would help meet the conservation goals of the state’s energy plan, which calls for an 18 percent reduction in energy use.
By following the Energy Star and LEED construction standards, “We can save money while cutting energy use and carbon emissions without sacrifice,” Colten said.
Bill Robinson can be reached at brobinson @richmondregister.com or at 624-6622.