Mercer P&Z takes temporary steps to enforce regulations

August 05, 2003|ANN R. HARNEY

HARRODSBURG - A compliance officer seems likely to be named in the near future for the Greater Harrodsburg/Mercer County Planning and Zoning Commission.

The issue of how local zoning laws and regulations would be enforced and by whom has dominated the discussions of the zoning panel over two monthly meeting and was an issue at the last Mercer County Fiscal Court meeting July 29.

At that meeting, Zoning Commission Chairman C.L. Riley asked the court to name someone to a committee to study hiring a compliance officer to enforce zoning and tax laws of county and city government.

The court declined to name anyone to the committee. Members said they want to wait until their next regular meeting when, they hope, Judge-Executive Charlie McGinnis can attend. McGinnis remains hospitalized.


It was resolved at the Fiscal Court meeting that people with complaints could bring them to the zoning commission. If the commission determined what they heard was a violation of the law, the portion of the law that was being violated would be stated on a complaint form and sent to the county attorney, who would begin enforcement procedures. The procedures would begin once the complaining property owners signed the complaint.

Riley reported the results of the Fiscal Court meeting to the rest of the board, and Commissioner William Royalty suggested a temporary solution to help people with complaints, but it is to last only six months or until a compliance officer is hired, Royalty said.

Chairman and one other member will inspect property

The commission adopted Royalty's suggestion that after the board hears a complaint and deems the property to be in violation of the pertinent laws, the commission chairman and one other member of the panel will inspect the property and also sign a complaint in County Attorney Douglas Greenburg's office.

There has been no compliance officer since Tim Bryant resigned in March 2002 to take another job. Riley told Fiscal Court that he did not know why there had been no replacement. Riley told the commission that Magistrate Larry Peyton said Fiscal Court was taking heat over the lack of enforcement of zoning laws.

Riley said he reminded Peyton that the court was less than enthusiastic about hiring the first compliance officer and had not pressed planning and zoning to hire someone to replace Bryant until a recent complaint by property owners on Dunn Lane arose.

The complaining property owners are in Peyton's district. Peyton attended the July meeting of the zoning panel but was not present Monday night.

Also not present were two people who have a connection to the property about which Peyton's constituents are complaining. Rene Gautier of Danville is allegedly running a business that is not allowed for the property's zoning. William R. Bell is the property owner.

The two men had asked to be on the agenda, but since they did not attend the meeting, the issue was not discussed directly. It is the commission's policy to table all agenda items if there is no one at the meeting to represent the request.

However, Riley said it was not necessary to hear from the property owner or renter for the commission and the residents to file a complaint.

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