Denied Moberly Road zone change comes before fiscal court again 

Register file photo 

A zone change for a property in the county which caused a denial from the Madison County Fiscal Court in August 2019 came before them again on Tuesday morning.

The four magistrates and county judge heard the proposed Ordinance 2021-13 read aloud by Bert Thomas, the county’s director of planning and building codes.

If approved following a second reading, 80 acres of land located at the property owned by Jack VanWinkle would be rezoned from R7 (agricultural) to R1 (single-family residential) in the hopes of garnishing a new subdivision.

Thomas said the Madison County Planning and Zoning Commission held a meeting on June 15 to discuss the land-use change application and found the proposed land use classification was appropriate for R1 and consistent with the comprehensive plan.

Some reasons given as to why it was appropriate were because the adjacent property on Concord and Moberly Road had also been rezoned R1 for a subdivision in October, sewage infrastructure was available, and a need for single-family housing in the county.

Despite the planning and zoning’s recommendation to approve the change, some public comments in opposition to the change cited traffic, drainage, and water concerns.

These were the same concerns which led the fiscal court to deny it when first presented in August of 2019. In September of 2019, VanWinkle sued the fiscal court VanWinkle and filed seven counts of violation in his appeal, arguing the court's reasoning for denying the zone change was arbitrary, failed to meet the requirements of KRS 100.213, was not based on evidence, and violates Louisville v. McDonald (1971), to name a few.

At the first presentation in 2019, Magistrates Larry Combs, Roger Barger, John Tudor, and Tom Botkin all voted to deny the zoning classification change with concerns, including extensive existing watershed and traffic issues. County Judge/Executive Reagan Taylor voted in favor of the zone change.

“...This item has been before the court before, and it was denied,” Thomas recalled. “Since then there have been some changes to the area character out there in that there has been another subdivision that has been explicitly approved in this area that is adjacent to this property.

“So I think the applicant felt like our regulations require that if you are denied, you wait one year until you bring it back or there has to be a substantial change to the application, and I believe he felt the time had passed and the area changed to a point he wanted to bring it back to the planning and zoning commission which made the made the recommendation again to approve it,” Thomas said.

Magistrate John Tudor — who voted against the property zone change two years ago and Tuesday — spoke to make a point of the vote on the adjacent property at Concord and Moberly approved.

“The vote on the adjacent property was two to two, which was a tie vote, actually,” Tudor said. “And because it was recommended by planning and zoning, it was approved. We had one magistrate out that other meeting, and we don’t know how he would have voted.”

However, Tudor said the 1270 Moberly property which resulted in a lawsuit in Circuit Court yielded a ruling in favor of the fiscal court and upheld the fiscal court’s decision to deny.

The first reading of a zone change located at 1270 Moberly Road was approved in a four-to-one vote, with Magistrate John Tudor voting against the change. Thomas also said the judge ruled the property was a part of the rural corridor.

County Judge-Executive Reagan Taylor commented things change.

“Things change from two years; I think that is why regs allow you to have that opportunity to bring something back because I do think you have growth areas,” the judge said. “Now we have AppHarvest that is coming out there in that area, and so that is a growth area. The county has invested a lot in sewer, and we are working on our comprehensive plan right now that is going to make some of our rural corridors where our growth areas establish those to be wider.

“I think the county has made great investments in infrastructure that allows for things like this,” Judge Taylor said.

Thomas said with the determination of the comprehensive plan — which has yet to be adopted — this property, if approved, would be included in the expansion from rural to an urban corridor.

Taylor said he would argue the lines between urban and rural corridors should have already been changed in a previous comprehensive plan, but it was a big task to take on the first year in office in 2015.

“Especially with that sewer out there,” Thomas agreed. “If you aren’t going to develop out there, there is no point in having the infrastructure, and I think that is kind of the direction we are headed in that part of the county.”

Other business:

• A proclamation was read by Judge Taylor, recognizing July 13 as the Centennial Day for United Way of the Bluegrass.

• A JAG grant was received by Madison County and the city of Richmond in the amount of $11,000 to be split between the two governments with $5,696 to go to the sheriff’s department and the city’s police department. The fiscal court approved the interlocal agreement with the city of Richmond pertaining to the grant.

• The court-approved authorization for the judge to apply for a state spay and neuter grant application in the amount of $2,500 with a $2,500 match. The county received this grant last year, and the $5,000 was able to help spay and neuter 47 animals.

• Elizabeth Cordell was approved for hire to the finance department.

• Dylan Rogers was approved for promotion from firefighter I to firefighter II.

The next fiscal court meeting is scheduled for July 27 at 9:30 a.m. The meeting will be held at the Madison County Courthouse at 101 West Main Street in Richmond.

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