CEDAR GROVE - Residents again argued that rezoning a former firehouse to commercial is not in the best interest of the community.
Southeast Bullitt Fire and Rescue Department is seeking to rezone a one-acre tract off Ironwood Trail. The facility formerly used as a fire station would be sold to an individual seeking to locate his body shop business in the area.
The property would be rezoned from R-1 Residential to B-1 Highway Business.
Attorney Tim White, representing the applicant, said that the planning commission recommended approval of the request, which includes a list of restrictions.
Bullitt Fiscal Court will make the final decision at its special meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 7, at 9:30 a.m.
During the public hearing, residents Linda Parsley, Ben Curry and Fran Colburn voiced their opposition.
Parsley said there are two other properties which have been used for body shops and there was no need for more commercial zoning. She encouraged fiscal court members to keep the neighbors in mind when making their decision.
Curry lives next door and there is already one body shop that went out of business. He didn’t see the need for another.
He added that he couldn’t understand a fire department being able to build a station in any zoning classification and then be allowed to later sell the building and rezone the property.
Colburn said, “It’s not right.”
She was also concerned about the future of the weather warning siren, which is located on the fire department property.
Assistant county attorney Tammy Baker said the siren belongs to the county and it would remain or it could be relocated. She also said that if the property is rezoned, any of the allowable uses of the B-1 classification could be utilized.
Southeast Bullitt fire chief Julius Hatfield said that the potential purchaser of the building has agreed to keep the siren at that location.
He added that the property has not been used for the past 5-6 years. It would help generate some money for the department and would also return the property to the tax rolls, which would assist the county.
Magistrate Ruthie Ashbaugh questioned whether the taxing district or the fire department owned the building. White responded that the fire department owns the building.
Baker said the ownership of the building and whether public tax dollars were used to build the facility were not part of the zoning discussion.
Ashbaugh said she was concerned about possible changes needed in the zoning regulations. She was unhappy that if you are seeking the same non-residential zone as a neighbor, the required acreage could be reduced.
In a free-standing zone, planning administrator Roanne Hammond said three acres would be required. However, that required drops down to one acre if it adjoins the requested zoning classification.
Ashbaugh then added that if the applicants of any zoning case would think about what is best for the entire county, it may help avoid some of the conflict with existing residents.
Some of the applicants may decide to not file for a rezoning after they thought about it.
The final decision for fiscal court is slated for Nov. 7.
In other business:
*The second reading of the sanitation fees ordinance is also slated for Nov. 7.
In the revised ordinance, the district would be allowed to increase rates based on a specific Consumer Price Index.
Resident Mike Higgins said it appeared that district manager Jerry Kennedy had done an excellent job with the available funds and additional money might be needed to keep the district afloat.
*Louis Anthony was granted permission to cut the grass on landfill property for hay.
*The court agreed to replace two HVAC units at the Bullitt County Judicial Center.
The two units would cost $7,992 each and were part of the original building.
The state Administrative Office of the Courts declined an invitation to provide funding for the project. AOC officials stated that the county receives normal funding from the state and that could be used for such maintenance items.
The next meeting of the Bullitt Fiscal Court will be at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 7, at the courthouse. Since it is a special meeting, only items on the court’s agenda may be discussed. The public is always invited to attend.