More discussion, no action on Hustonville zoning regs

January 23, 2004|EMILY BURTON

HUSTONVILLE - Representatives of county-wide planning and zoning, soon to be adopted, met with city council members and citizens Thursday for what was the second, heavily attended, zoning discussion of the month in City Hall. Despite months of similar discussion, Hustonville citizens and officials are still weighing their options in regard to joining the county plan or abstaining. Currently, residents must only comply with broad, state planning and zoning laws.

Amid questions from the audience and a general overview of the county''s plan by attorney Daryl Day, building inspector Rhonda Brown and county Judge-Executive Buckwheat Gilbert assured listeners of two county planning and zoning certainties; first, that it was inevitable, and second, it was drafted in the best interest of their children's and grandchildren's future home.

"That's what you'll gain from this, a better future for your children and grandchildren. That's what this is about," said Gilbert in response to a question about the county's financial benefit from planning and zoning.


The question of benefits seemed to be on many citizens' minds, as several used their allotted one question during the meeting to ask where their planning and zoning fees and fines would end up.

"There's not a lot of money to be made, to be honest it's not meant to make money," said Brown.

"I think you will see that the county has put more money in this than they will ever get back," said Day.

Gilbert said the greatest drain on city and county tax-payers were out-of-county subdivision developers who tell young families the county will improve the roads and water pressure in the developments, which is not the cases, and deliberately misleads them before leaving the county.

This is a growing problem that planning and zoning will curb, said Gilbert in an 11th hour speech at the meeting.

"What we're trying to do here is stop people from coming in and exploiting people, young people who have lived here their whole lives, who were (deceived) Now who protects the tax money in this county? You? That's because you have to buy up all the land around your house to keep a junk yard from going up next door," said Gilbert.

"I could sell x-rated videos right out my front door, and you don't have any way to stop me right now.

It's a legal business under state law," Day gave as a reason for needing planning and zoning.

Additionally, council members asked Day and Gilbert what would happen to current property that was not in compliance with new laws.

"Any non-conforming lot in existence before this was adopted would be treated as if it conformed," said Day.

Though their own properties would be grandfathered in, some citizens worried about future construction and the exact role of a zoning inspector.

"It's hard to say this is going to happen or that is going to happen, because it all depends on your ordinance," said Day. Regarding the zoning enforcement inspector, Day said, "If you want to build a barn on your farm, the planning and zoning enforcement officer doesn't come out and tell you where to put your barn. A lot of planning and zoning is self-policing."

Should the city decide to abstain from joining in the county's plan, council members would have to adopt planning and zoning laws of their own before the county's passes, then grandfathered in, or remain without planning and zoning.

In order to complete planning and zoning before the county ordinance passed, council members were told by Day they would need a land-use map and comprehensive future land-use plan.

"That would be a prerequisite before we did anything?" asked council member Hank Smith.

"Yes," said Day with a nod.

When asked by an attendee about the benefit of planning and zoning when applying for state and federal grants, Smith said he had discussed the possibilities with Bluegrass Area Development District's Jane Combs.

"She said we wouldn't not get it, but our chances would be slimmer," said Smith.

"I would still help, no matter what you decide," said Gilbert, " But they do still look at that, you know it and I know it."

The ordinances in question are slated for a first reading and public hearing at 5 p.m. Tuesday in the old Kentucky Utilities building in Stanford.

A second reading will be advertised in local papers in advance of the reading.

"The people that will profit from this are your children," said Gilbert in closing.

"It's going to protect you, but it's not overkill."

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