SHEPHERDSVILLE - Residents came prepared to ask questions and to seek answers.
However, due to some procedural changes recently adopted by the Bullitt County Joint Planning Commission, the attorney representing Rogers Group and the Bates family wasn’t doing too much talking.
And while disappointed with the approach taken, they were assured by attorney David Pike that he would give a full presentation when the matter is heard by the Hillview City Council, which will make the final decision.
The rezoning would seek to change 301 acres from Agricultural and Stream Reserve to Earth Products. The Rogers Group, which already operates Bullitt County Stone, would acquire the property which could someday be used as a source of limestone.
To receive a rezoning on the property, Pike will have to overcome an unfavorable recommendation by the planning commission Thursday. Commissioner Thomas Givhan’s motion to send an unfavorable recommendation since no proof was presented to justify a zoning reclassification.
The motion passed 6-1.
In making his brief presentation, Pike said under the new procedures, his clients opted to allow for expert witnesses to testify at the city hearing, which could be held in August or September. Pike was concerned about some of the comments made during a recent special meeting which specifically dealt with his case.
While it is a large tract of land, Pike said that it is surrounded on three sides by EP zoning. He felt that the property complied with all the regulations and his client would have to follow the strict requirements under the EP classification.
He would not agree to any restrictions on the property from the planning commission but said those considerations would be discussed at the Hillview meeting.
Givhan asked Pike on several occasions about the proof he would present to justify a rezoning; however, each time, Pike said that his case would stand on its own merits. Items had been submitted into the planning commission’s files prior to the five-day limit.
While Pike would say little, several residents did take their opportunity to voice concerns.
Donna Vorbrink, who lives off Castlerock Drive, was looking for some information on the short- and long-term goals for the property.
“That is not respecting any working class human being,” she said of the lack of information presented.
“I’d like to have some answers tonight,” added Vorbrink.
For Joseph Sansbury, Bullitt County Stone has not been a good neighbor for years. He moved to his dream home 33 years ago but felt like it was a battle between David and Goliath.
“We don’t feel like this business needs to be in our backyards,” said Sansbury. “They’re going to move into our back yards.”
Presently, the quarry operations are 5/8-mile away. With the rezoning, there will be no distance between the homes and the quarry.
For years, Sansbury said he has complained about the dust and noise, not to mention the blasting and its affects upon their homes.
“They are not going to get any better,” said Sansbury, who added the quarry had gotten an EPA violation recently for failing to comply with pollution standards.
“They’re just not good neighbors,” said Sansbury.
During rebuttal questioning, Pike gave a little more insight into the rezoning request and future plans.
The reason to seek the rezoning would be to get the quarry into a position to capitalize when the building market returns. He said it might be years before anything is done with the Bates property.
“This is not a good time for construction,” said Pike.
In terms of blasting, Pike said the quarry must follow federal standards. However, at the suggestion of commissioner John Miller, Pike said he would check into blasting methods and doing surveys of nearby homes prior to the start of blasting.
Also, Pike said that he would look at the access issue to Castlerock Drive. That was not anticipated but Pike said it could be a restriction discussed at the Hillview meeting.
The EP zoning classification has a number of requirements and Pike said his client must follow those regulations.
In response to a commission question, Pike said the company has not left its boundaries to do any mining. Whether the quarry is done in an open pit method or underground is something the applicants would discuss at the Hillview public hearing, said Pike.
Following the unfavorable recommendation, Pike said he appreciated the questions presented by the surrounding residents. He promised that during the Hillview hearing, there would be more information provided.