Commission tables two zone change recommendations, approves two others

The Danville City Commission tabled two zone change recommendations from the Danville-Boyle County Planning and Zoning Commission and approved two others at a special called meeting.

After a lengthy hearing surrounding zoning regulation changes in regards to a controversial proposal for a Dollar General store to be built on a five-acre tract at 0 Shakertown Road, with concerns surrounding traffic and other potential issues, the planning and zoning commission denied the recommendation for the zoning map amendment with a vote five to two, said planning and zoning director Steve Hunter. At the city commission meeting, the recommendation to deny was tabled.

Hunter said though the city commission typically adheres to recommendation from the planning and zoning commission, the city commission has the option to approve the recommendation or has the option to have a new hearing. The city opted to table the recommendation in order to seek outside legal counsel on the matter, since city attorney Stephen Dexter has previously represented Kentucky Lodging and Development, the developer requesting the zone change in this instance, in Mercer County.

According to a Harrodsburg Herald article dated March 20, 2019, there was a “proposed building of a Dollar General store at the intersection of Ashley Camp and Chimney Rock Roads” in Mercer County that would require a zone change, which residents of a nearby residential development largely opposed. Later in August 2019, opponents of the project took legal action against Mercer County Fiscal Court, the Mercer County Joint Planning and Zoning Commission and the owners of the lot, “seeking to overturn the decision by the fiscal court to rezone the property from residential to business and the decision by the planning and zoning commission to approve the site plan for the Dollar General,” according to an Aug. 14, 2019 Harrodsburg Herald article.

Dexter said during the city commission meeting that because of his history with the Dollar General project in Mercer County and “Due to the fact that case is currently before the Kentucky Court of Appeals and has been there about a year,” it was best he didn’t advise the city of Danville on how to move forward in this case, which was why the city commission decided to table the recommendation and seek outside legal counsel.

The zone change recommendation for 1695 Lancaster Road from agricultural to light industrial prompted the most discussion out of the four recommendations during the city commission meeting. This concerns about 30.76 acres, a portion of a property consisting of hundreds of acres.

The developer, LMD Holdings, LLC, had originally requested a zone change for the whole property in January 2020, which got tabled due to a lack of a development plan and was scaled back, Hunter said. However, he said the developer may request multiple zone changes for other parts of the property later on. Now with the approximately 31 acres in question, LMD Holdings wants to establish a couple of rickhouses and in the future possibly a bottling and distilling facility as well. The planning commission recommended seven votes to zero that the city commission approve the zone change for the acres in question, but the city commission tabled the zone change recommendation because it wants to further review the proposal’s compliance with the comprehensive plan and the planning commission’s recommendation.

Also a concern among city commissioners during the meeting was water and sewage in the area, so the city wanted to further explore that as well.

The following zone change recommendations approved by the planning and zoning commission seven votes to zero were unanimously approved by the city commission, and the next step will be for the city to pass ordinances officially approving the zone changes:

• The commission approved the recommendation of the planning and zoning commission for a zone change for 19.482 acres at 2356 Perryville Road to general business. Mayor Michael Perros owns this land, so he excused himself while this recommendation was discussed during the meeting, and mayor pro tem commissioner James “J.H.” Atkins took over for him.

Hunter said the property is interesting because it was already two different zoning areas — part agricultural, part single family. He said the zone change request was to zone the property as general business because it has the ability to be commercial, multifamily or a combination.

• For about half of a total 3.26 acres located at 0 S. Danville Bypass, the city commission approved the planning and zoning commission’s recommendation to zone it from agricultural to highway business. The other half of the number of acres was already zoned as highway business — Hunter said the owner of the property wanted all of the acreage to be in the same zoning district.