LJ still studying rezoning question

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By Alex Wimsatt

LEBANON JUNCTION - A couple months ago, the Lebanon Junction City Council formed a committee to look into making zoning changes in some parts of the city to allow residents to alter their properties.

Council members decided to form the committee after receiving complaints that zoning regulations in much of the city prohibited structures from being rebuilt or altered under current zoning.

During the council’s July meeting Dion Collins announced that he and fellow committee member Randall Logsdon would meet with city attorney Mark Edison to discuss the council’s options and whether or not zoning changes were even necessary.

Edison spent weeks studying the city’s zoning maps dating as far back as 1972, he then presented his findings to Collins and Logsdon.

Edison found that the city hadn’t changed much over the years, particularly in the downtown area where the lot sizes and uses have remained much the same as they were in 1972.

Edison told Collins and Logsdon that they could potentially rezone areas of the city, but it would take a great deal of time and money.

The city would have to get the areas surveyed, which would cost thousands of dollars, then they would have to go to planning and zoning commission, hold hearings, and finally the city would have to take action.

Edison said the process would be very expensive.

“For the city to do a block zoning, it’s probably cost prohibitive,” Edison said.

Edison explained that a viable solution was to allow property owners to

make changes based on preexisting non-conforming statutes, which would

allow non-conforming properties to be altered as long as those properties had the same continuous use over a ten year period and hadn‘t been cited for violations.

Edison said many of the properties in Lebanon Junction qualified as preexisting non-conforming lots under statute.

The committee took no official action, but they planned to meet with planning officials to see if a compromise could be worked out.

“Once we sit and discuss that with them, it may remedy our problem in Lebanon junction,” Collins said. “We hope planning and zoning sees the law the way we do.”

Collins said he hoped to meet with planning staff before the next council meeting so he, Logsdon and Edison could update the city.

In other business:

*Lebanon Junction only recently began construction on a walking path looping around the city park.

However, mayor Butch Sweat announced that the quarter mile track was nearly complete with the gravel base already laid.

It didn’t take long for locals to start making use of the path, according to Sweat, who’s already seen folks walking the trail.

Sweat said all that was left to do was lay the asphalt, adding that the project should be complete by fall.

The new path is part of a revitalization effort to restore the city park, which Sweat said had deteriorated over the years.

“It looks good,” he said.

Along with adding the new path, Sweat, public works director Chaz Sullivan and other city employees also ran a waterline to the park pavilion so a water fountain could be installed later.

*The Lebanon Junction Police Department began moving from its’ cramped quarters in city hall to a new location in the nearby structure once occupied by the Bullitt County Public Library.

“Now they’ll have a lot more room,” Sweat said. “It’s been difficult for them to do what they have to do with people coming

in and out. This way they’ll have some privacy.”

The city purchased the property from the BCPL for $45,000.

LJPD’s former headquarters will now serve as the public works office.

* After deciding to replace one of LJPD’s outdated Ford Crown Victoria cruisers with a 2010 model, the city took bids on the 1999 vehicle.

The highest bidder was Officer Terry Phillips, who bought the car for $526.93.

Sweat said the vehicle had a lot of miles on it, plus there were problems with the transmission.

The police department should receive its new cruiser very soon.

* During the council’s June meeting, resident Bill Beeler requested that Lebanon Junction water works run a line to his home so he could have city water.

After studying the possibility, engineers said the city could run a two inch line to Beeler’s home along Maraman Road.

“We told Mr. Beeler if he wants it, it’s going to be his choice,” Sweat said.

The next meeting of the Lebanon Junction City Council will be held on Monday, Aug. 2, 7 p.m. at City Hall on Main Street. The public is invited to attend.