The Madison Fiscal Court came to a tie vote Tuesday about whether or not to overrule a zone change request denied by the county’s planning commission.

The land in question is almost 6 acres at 3186 Battlefield Memorial Highway. The owners, James and Kathleen Tyree, want to use the land next to their home to build a small diner which would serve 40 people.

The land currently is zoned C7 (community agriculture) and their request was to change the land’s zoning classification to C4 (community general commercial).

The Madison County Planning and Zoning Commission recently met and denied the zone change request, mainly stating the land lies in a flood plain and is not compatible with the county’s comprehensive plan.

Local attorney Walter Ecton is representing the Tyrees and spoke Tuesday on their behalf.

The county’s comprehensive plan exclusively mentions the Kingston area and how it would be a good place for more commercial development, Ecton said. The property owners also have a plan to “fill” the land so that is no longer lying in a flood plain, he said.

A petition was signed by 123 surrounding neighbors of the property in favor of building the diner, he said.

“Kingston deserves a place to eat,” Ecton said.

Rezoning the area to general commercial “.... would create an isolated area of commercial zoning,” according to Duane Curry, Madison County’s planning and development administrator.

Curry referred to planning commission member Paula Maionchi’s reasoning for voting against the zone change request.

“Her feeling was that it would be spot zoning a piece of ground in the midst of residential property and create an unharmonious use,” Curry said.

Maionchi also said approving the request would not support the comprehensive plan’s idea of “smart growth” in the Kingston community and that the land in question is not adjacent to existing commercial property.

Curry mentioned two vacant storefronts for rent in the Battlefield Center at Kingston.

Perhaps an area in the business complex would be more appropriate for a diner, he said.

Madison Judge/Executive Kent Clark said he mostly is concerned with the proposed zoning classification of general commercial.

“You have people living right across the road, and when we open it up to general commercial, that makes four or five acres available to do anything with,” he said. “All of a sudden, we would have this big field right in the middle of a residential area where he (Tyree) can do anything he wants and there’s nothing anyone can do about it.”

The tendency of the area to flood also is a concern, Clark said.

Magistrates Greg King and Roger Barger voted to overturn the county planning commission’s zone change request denial, while Clark and Magistrate Larry Combs voted against overturning the decision.

State law requires that an ordinance be created for reading in the case of a tie vote, according to Marc Robbins, county attorney.

The first reading of the ordinance must be read within 90 days and must have two readings.

Magistrate Billy Ray Hughes was not present at Tuesday’s meeting.

In other business:

• The fiscal court adopted a resolution Tuesday at the request of the Madison Airport Board to make the board official according to state law.

The resolution is a joint effort between Berea, Richmond and Madison County.

“... the Board of the Madison Airport Board Inc. has by resolution ... requested that the Madison Fiscal Court and the cities of Berea and Richmond establish the Madison Airport Board Inc. as a local air board pursuant to KRS 183.132,” the resolution reads.

The Madison County Airport Board Inc. was established in July 1971, however, “... no evidence can be found establishing this corporation,” the resolution reads. “... legal issues have risen as to the legal status of this corporation, particularly in a certain civil action pending in Madison Circuit Court.”

• Former Madison County Head Start Director Phillis Adams announced that Oct. 17-21 is Buckle Up Children in the Back Seat Week.

The week focuses on emphasizing the importance of child passenger safety.

“Efforts are being made by those in your community to keep children safe,” Adams said.

She gave magistrates and the audience a brochure outlining safety guidelines for the usage of car seats and booster seats.

Visit www.usa.safekids.org for more information.

• Windstream was awarded a $78,521 bid to serve as the new cable, Internet and telephone system operator for the Madison County CSEPP (Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program). Windstream was the lowest of three bidders.

• William Hicks was appointed to serve as the coordinator for the all-volunteer Madison County Search and Rescue Team.

• Trick-or-Treat in Madison County will be Oct. 31 from 6 to 8 p.m.

The next meeting of the fiscal court is scheduled for 9:30 a.m., Oct. 25 at the Madison County Courthouse.

Ronica Shannon can be reached at rshannon@richmondregister.com or 624-6608.

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