Industrial Foundation may have buyer for floodplain land on Lebanon Road

Published 8:29 am Thursday, January 4, 2018

Approximately 20 acres of land in front of Danville’s American Greetings factory on Lebanon Road currently sits in the 100-year flood plain, preventing anyone from building on it.

But now it seems someone may want to, as the owner of the land, the Boyle County Industrial Foundation, has gotten approval for a subdivision plat amendment for three tracts of land on the property.

The Danville-Boyle County Planning and Zoning Commission approved Wednesday the amendment that would allow the land to be developed in the future — if the land can be removed from the flood plain.

Email newsletter signup

The land fronting Lebanon Road/Ky. 34 is zoned IBD for industrial business development. It sits directly across Lebanon Road from the minor industrial park just west of the U.S. 150 Bypass.

P&Z Director Steve Hunter said the properties are almost entirely in the 100-year flood plain, making them essentially impossible to build on legally in their current state.

“The floodplain can be changed, (land) can be filled, through a formal process with the federal government, and ultimately can be used,” Hunter said. “But right now … there’s very little that could be done, structures that could be placed, because of the percentage of the lots that’s in the floodplain.”

Nancy Estes, an engineer with Estes Engineering who worked on the plat amendment, said the tracts are “orphan lots” originally created in 1985.

“Obviously, nobody has wanted to build on those at this point in time,” she said. “But there is a possibility that they may have a buyer for one of the lots.”

Estes said in the 1970s and 80s, at the bottom of the South Fourth Street hill, Clarks Run Creek — the same creek that runs along Lebanon Road — would flood “every year” and the land was similarly listed in the 100-year floodplain.

“When AutoZone went in, they built up where their building is now to keep it out of the floodplain,” she said. “So it can be done.”

Hunter said a note was included on the amended plat, making it explicitly clear that the properties are not usable in their current state.

“What we want is to make sure the consumer and the buyer understands what all we’ve got going on here, and that is not a building lot today,” he said. “… Before you could even fill it, you’d have to go through a process through the federal government to eliminate the floodplain. Then you could fill it and ultimately build on it … my suggestion was to put the note on the plat, ‘not a building lot of record,’ and then at that point when they fill it, we can take the note back off the plat.

“But the fear is that someone buys the lot, doesn’t know they just bought a lot (within) the floodplain, think they have a development opportunity, turns out they don’t.”

Hunter said it’s not a guarantee that properties can always be removed from the floodplain. He noted the Industrial Foundation is a “very reputable owner” and there are no concerns it would sell the property to someone without warning them about the floodplain issue.

The P&Z Commission unanimously approved the plat amendment including the note.