Concern over procedural error results in rehearing of rezoning

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Third time a charm?

By Thomas Barr

 SHEPHERDSVILLE – It will take a third hearing before a legislative body is ready to make a decision on a controversial rezoning case in Bardstown Junction.

After three hours of testimony, the Bullitt County Joint Planning Commission thought it had a recommendation to pass along to the Shepherdsville City Council.

However, on Friday morning, it was discovered that a procedural error during Thursday’s hearing should be corrected by holding another public hearing.

The rezoning change from Agricultural to IG General Industrial on approximately 138 acres on three tracts along Highway 61 at Highway 245 will now be considered at a new hearing on Tuesday, Jan. 31, at 6 p.m.

Attorney John Wooldridge, representing the applicants – Zoneton Developers, Debra Ann Shaw and the Oma Lee Shaw Estate – did not list any potential tenants for the property.

Opposition was presented by members of Bardstown Junction Baptist Church, which would be surrounded on three sides by the proposed development, and residents who live in the area off of Beech Grove Road.

Even before the proceedings began, Wooldridge and attorney Bruce Simpson, representing the church, were at odds over what exhibits could be presented for consideration by the planning commission.

At the end of the evidence, a motion was made to give the rezoning request an unfavorable recommendation due to its non-compliance with the comprehensive land-use plan. That motion failed when chairman Daryl Lee broke the tie.

Another motion was then entered to give the request a favorable recommendation due to changes in the area, including proximity to the Interstate 65 interchange, water service to the area and a new sewer line run by the city of Shepherdsville.

That motion was adopted 5-3.

However, the procedural issue arose when Simpson requested the ability to cross examine witnesses. Lee said that the body had not allowed cross examination of witnesses in the past but that any questions raised would be asked on rebuttal by the commission.

County attorney Monica Robinson said on Friday that a new decision altered the previous practice. To avoid facing possible litigation down the road, she said it was better to go ahead and have another hearing before sending it to Shepherdsville City Council.

Originally, the rezoning was for an IL Light Industrial classification. It reached the final stages of Bullitt Fiscal Court when the applicants were granted a withdrawal.

Most recently, the Shepherdsville City Council annexed the property into its corporate limits.

The Jan. 31 hearing will start from scratch. It will again be held in the Bullitt County Courthouse and the public is invited to attend.