Rezoning case delayed for month

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Parties still negotiating over possible purchase

 SHEPHERDSVILLE - Members of Bardstown Junction Baptist Church packed the Bullitt Fiscal Courtroom well before the scheduled 9:30 a.m. meeting on Tuesday.

They came to hear the fate of a rezoning request which could allow light industrial development surrounding their place of worship.

However, due to on-going negotiations between the parties, the fate of the rezoning request will not be known until Sept. 6.

Appearing together at the podium, attorneys John Wooldridge and Bruce Simpson both agreed to a resolution allowing the matter to be tabled until Sept. 6.

Wooldridge’s clients, Zoneton Developers, Debra Shaw and the estate of Oma Lee Shaw, are asking to rezone 137 acres off Highway 61 at Highway 245 from agricultural to light industrial.

The plan would be to house several distribution warehouses on the property.

Simpson, a Lexington attorney, represents the congregation of Bardstown Junction Baptist Church, which would be surrounded on two sides by the rezoning request.

On Tuesday, Wooldridge said the two parties have been meeting to reach a resolution that would allow fiscal court to rezone the property without the threat of future litigation.

He felt some progress had been made and the additional time might allow for an agreement to be reached.

With delaying the decision, it would give the public an opportunity to attend the 6 p.m. fiscal court meeting.

Simpson said it was the desire of several fiscal court members to see some settlement be reached.

With the latest offer from the applicants being received last week, Simpson said he couldn’t promise that there would be a resolution to the matter.

He promised that the church would seriously consider any offer and propose any counteroffer. However, there had not been enough time to evaluate the most recent offer.

Bullitt County attorney Monica Meredith Robinson said the resolution from fiscal court was needed to delay the matter. Under the state statutes, any recommendation by the planning commission becomes law if unacted upon within 90 days. However, the provisions in the local zoning regulations only allow 60 days to make a decision.

With the resolution for the delay, the Sept. 6 meeting would be 89 days since the planning commission gave a favorable recommendation.

During the first public hearing, Wooldridge outlined the possibility of landing a distribution company that could hire at least 1,000 people initially with the prospects of many more with expansion.

Due to confidentiality agreements, members of the development team could not list who some of the potential occupants might be.

Simpson argued that the church was not properly notified of the planning commission hearing and that should void any recommendation.

He also stated that there had been no drainage or traffic studies conducted, as required for rezoning cases.

The Rev. Mark Harrison, pastor of Bardstown Junction Baptist Church, said his people were very upset with the lack of respect shown by everyone involved. He stated at the first meeting that anyone should have been able to find the church to notify its members of the public hearing.

Then, he said members were upset that no one came to speak to them about the proposal. And when they did, they made such a low offer to pay for the relocating that it was insulting.

During his discussions with fiscal court, Harrison said the church was looking for $5 million to sell its property and relocate to a new site.

He told court members that the church was not interested in relocating but it was also not against the creation of jobs in the community. Bardstown Junction Baptist was established in 1917 and has been located at the corner of Highway 61 and Beech Grove Road since 1972.

During the initial hearing, it was determined that at least three sites in Bullitt County were in contention for the multi-million distribution facility. A site in southern Indiana was also mentioned.

On Tuesday, another large crowd appeared but no one spoke, other than the attorneys.