Lawsuit filed over rezoning for BC quarry

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By Thomas Barr

 HILLVIEW - A lawsuit has been filed challenging the recent rezoning of 301 acres to be used for the expansion of an existing rock quarry.

Joseph Sansbury, Grover Vorbrink and Doyle Jackson, all residents of Castlerock Drive, filed suit in Bullitt Circuit Court on Wednesday asking that the rezoning approval given by the Hillview City Council be overturned.

The council voted in August to approve rezoning of property owned by the Bates Family Trust under contract to be purchased by the Rogers Group, which operates Bullitt County Stone.

The city council voted 4-2 to approve the rezoning from Agricultural and Stream Reserve to EP Earth Products on Aug. 20.

In the complaint filed by attorney Tom Fitzgerald, all three plaintiffs live on property adjacent to the rezoned tract and all would be “aggrieved and adversely affected and injured in  his peaceful use and enjoyment of the property by additional traffic, noise, dust, blasting vibrations and other changes to his neighborhood and safe use and enjoyment of his property...”

Fitzgerald argued that the county’s comprehensive land-use plan calls for commercial employment, not for a quarry operation.

At the public hearing before the Bullitt County Joint Planning Commission, that agency recommended an unfavorable vote by the city council, which had the final say.

Hillview held a public hearing on Aug. 20 and the applicants presented a full presentation to the residents and to the council. At the county planning commission, a very brief presentation was made due to changes made in the procedures on how public hearings would be conducted.

Fitzgerald said that it appeared that city officials and the applicants met in advance of the final reading to develop or to discuss the lengthy list of restrictions. 

He stated that the city’s decision was arbitrary, capricious and otherwise inconsistent with the law and that the plaintiffs were not accorded due process.

At the public hearing, the applicant presented only two restrictions - limit use of Castlerock Drive and there would be no open pit mining within 300 feet of property along the Blankeship Estates tracts.

However, by the time the final vote was taken, the list of restrictions was quite lengthy. Fitzgerald said the residents did not have a chance to question or comment or to cross-examine anyone on the elements of the restrictions.

Another concern is that the findings of fact were not adequate to override the planning commission’s recommendation for denial.

Finally, Fitzgerald said that the city did not place any witness under oath when taking testimony during the public hearing.

The plaintiffs are asking that Bullitt Circuit Judge Rodney Burress overturn the city’s decision by rejecting its Aug. 20 action to rezone the property.

It is asking that the original zoning be restored.

No court dates have been set. A lawsuit only has one side of the story.

The council approved the zoning change which would allow the rock quarry to conduct underground mining only and no such activity could begin for the next five years.

Truck traffic would not be allowed on Castlerock Drive.

Property owners along the rezoned property could ask for an evaluation to be done on their homes to see if any damage had occurred in the past or could occur in the future.

He said the applicant did not display how the original zoning was inappropriate or that there have been major economic, physical or social changes in the area.

Residents also discussed the large number of sinkholes in the area and their concern over the growth in such depressions.