City upholds recommendation to deny zone change for Dollar General project

The Danville city commission made the unanimous decision Monday to direct city staff to write a resolution supporting and upholding the planning and zoning commission’s recommendation to deny a zone change request at 0 Shakertown Road. Mayor Michael Perros was not present at the meeting to vote.

At this location on approximately five acres, a developer, Kentucky Lodging and Development Company, Inc., and property owner Peggy Y. Caldwell Irrevocable Trust wanted a Dollar General Store built there and had filed two applications: to amend the Future Land Use Map for the five acres from low-density residential to mixed-use residential, and to change the zoning from agriculture to general business.

This proposed project drew controversy, as about seven citizens and professionals at a Jan. 27 hearing, where the planning commission ultimately denied the FLUM amendment and recommended denial of the zone change, spoke in opposition of the project and signed petitions were submitted for consideration.

Some cited traffic and safety concerns in the area, particularly with Danville Christian Academy being right across Ky. 33 and the proposed development being just south of the roundabout. Another concern some residents had was they wanted to keep the area agricultural.

During the special called city commission meeting at 4 p.m. Monday, commissioners said they had reviewed the minutes from the Jan. 27 hearing, and they had either been at the meeting or watched it virtually.

Commissioner Jennie Hollon, who has served on the planning and zoning commission in the past, said during the meeting, “I know for me, the planning commission’s hearing was probably one of the most thorough I’ve ever seen. We heard from the Dollar General attorney for probably 30 minutes. We heard from the public for over an hour. So because it was so thorough, I feel like we got all our questions answered and received the information we need.”

She said the proposed location was a dangerous area to be adding more traffic outside of the roundabout and across from DCA, so it was “not a good location” for the Dollar General. She also said since the city and residents had opted for the Danville-Boyle County Comprehensive Plan and the FLUM to reflect the area be agricultural and low-density residential, it should stay that way.

Commissioner Kevin Caudill said that according to criteria for a FLUM change, “I just didn’t think that particular project met any of those criteria.”

The criteria he referred to were that there be a “demonstrated over-riding public benefit of the proposed development,” that “the request is a correction of inconsistencies or mapping errors contained within the FLUM” and/or “that the proposed use is clearly compatible with existing surrounding development as demonstrated by the applicant.”

He also said the view of the land is a “pretty” entrance into town, so some people “don’t think this particular project needs to be right there, in essence.”

Commissioner Denise Terry said the issue she saw with the proposal was “about compatibility,” citing safety concerns with the entrance, the school being nearby and visibility issues.

Hollon said she has seen overwhelming public support of the planning commission’s recommendation for denial of the zone change, and she and the other city commissioners have gotten dozens of emails supporting denial, though she said she heard from one person who said they’d love to have a dollar store out in that area. However, Hollon said, maybe not in that particular spot due to traffic concerns.

At the meeting, director of Danville-Boyle County Planning and Zoning Steve Hunter presented the planning commission’s decision and findings but also said “The applicant, to be fair to them, when they went forward, felt that they could still show compliance with the comprehensive plan (in) absence of showing compliance with the Future Land Use Map.”

In the Demonstration of Appropriateness for Kentucky Lodging and Development Company, Inc. included in the minutes from the Jan.27 meeting and as presented by legal counsel for the developer, Justin Manning, at the same meeting, there was mention that “The subject Property is located right in the heart of migration area, which means it is perfectly suited for a small commercial development to serve the needs of all these new residents,” as the demonstration stated the comprehensive plan identifies the area as one for significant likely residential growth.

“While some members of the public may express an opinion that KY Lodging’s proposal is undesirable, we have clearly indicated that KY Lodging’s proposal is needed,” the demonstration reads. “North Danville and North Boyle County are growing at a rapid rate, and currently there is no good general store within a reasonable distance to accommodate the needs of this region.” Also, the demonstration reads that the comprehensive plan identifies that local general stores “be treated differently than other commercial enterprises.”

The demonstration also argued that the highway was better suited for general business development than residential, as well as the fact that the surrounding land hosted not only agricultural land but also had two commercial developments already — a radio station and DCA, a private school.

“While the Comp Plan has identified the intersection of KY 2168 and KY 33 as ripe for commercial development, approval of the Danville Christian Academy has allowed a large portion of this region to go towards a commercial enterprise that doesn’t pay property taxes,” the demonstration reads. “Allowing the development of the local general store will allow for an increase in property tax revenue, income tax revenue, and other business tax revenue. It will also create a small number of jobs for the community.”

These are some of the cases the developer made for the FLUM amendment and zone change. However, ultimately the planning commission passed a motion to deny the FLUM amendment, deciding the proposal was “‘not compatible with the adjacent agricultural and educational uses, in part because of the intensity of the use, and because of creating additional access onto the adjacent arterial road,’” according to minutes from the Jan. 27 meeting. The motion passed 5-2. The planning commission’s recommendation to deny the zone change was unanimous and passed due to similar reasons and because it “is not consistent with the Future Land Use Map,” according to the minutes.

Since the city commission decided to draft a resolution upholding the planning commission’s decision to deny the zone change on Monday, the resolution will be voted on at the next city commission meeting.

In other business, during a city commission meeting at 5:30 on Monday, the commission:

• Approved a zone change recommendation from the planning and zoning commission to zone approximately 30 acres at 1695 Lancaster Road from agricultural and highway business to light industrial to build rickhouses on the land, with a vote 3-1. The one nay vote was from Commissioner Denise Terry. Mayor Michael Perros was not present at the meeting to vote. The applicant and property owner is LMD Holdings, LLC. The city will draft an ordinance to approve the zone change, which will need two readings.

• Approved a first reading of an ordinance to approve the Economic Development Authority Interlocal Agreement, which also needs approval from the Boyle County Fiscal Court.

• Following an executive session, approved the hiring of Caleb Lowry as municipal utilities inspector and Ryan White as a police officer.

• Proclaimed April as National Child Abuse Prevention Month.