P&Z director: ‘No rules’ on zoning in Junction right now

Published 6:17 pm Thursday, April 25, 2019

The Danville-Boyle County Planning and Zoning Commission has approved its first subdivision plat for Junction City since the city rejoined P&Z. But there’s still more work to be done to bring Junction fully up-to-speed in terms of planning and regulating its land use, P&Z Director Steve Hunter said.

The subdivision plat approved Wednesday will allow a new mechanical business on land owned by Raymond Float to connect its private drive to the end of Margus Drive.

“The gentleman building the commercial building is going to extend Margus Drive into this property, but it will be a private travel way,” Hunter explained to the P&Z Commission. “It will match the street, curb, gutter, sidewalks — he’s going to construct all of that … so the street is going to appear to go all the way into the property.”

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Since Junction City has officially rejoined P&Z after a years-long absence, that means subdivision regulations are now in effect again, Hunter said, which is why the property owner had to get his plat approved. But there is no zoning or future land-use map for the city in place, which creates an awkward situation.

The commercial business is actually being built on land that was previously zoned residential before Junction pulled out of P&Z, Hunter said. But that’s irrelevant until the city adopts a new future land-use map and zoning ordinance.

“For the time being, there’s no rules down there. You could build apartments anywhere,” Hunter said. “… Right now, there’s no setbacks, there’s no zoning — there’s no rules. This is a dangerous period.”

A special committee involving P&Z and Junction officials has been working in recent months to develop a new future land-use map. Once that’s complete and adopted, then the Junction City Council can begin work on a new zoning ordinance. After that zoning ordinance is adopted, Junction will be totally caught up to the rest of Boyle County, Hunter explained.

Junction City split ways with the P&Z Commission in 2011. Mayor Jim Douglas led the charge beginning in 2009 to leave P&Z, alleging P&Z regulations were enforced unevenly depending on who was in violation. He also claimed onerous P&Z regulations had led some business development prospects considering Junction to go elsewhere.

City leaders believed they would be able to enforce regulations on their own. Last fall, after Junction officials got into a disagreement with a developer, P&Z attorney Bruce Smith said in his opinion, Junction City had never gained and couldn’t gain the authority to enforce regulations on developers without being part of the county-wide P&Z Commission.

Junction’s official request to rejoin P&Z was accepted by the other governments in P&Z — Danville, Perryville and Boyle County — in February.

Former Junction City Council member Sonya Kitchen is now the city’s appointed P&Z commissioner.