Garrard zoning discussion causes controversy

May 11, 2004|JIM LOGAN

LANCASTER - Public anger over possible planning and zoning was turned up a notch Monday night at the Garrard Fiscal Court when a magistrate was asked to resign because he wasn't "listening to a majority of the people."

Kenneth Robinson, a leader of the no-zoning movement in the county, asked Joe Leavell to step down because he does not believe the magistrate, who has said he is in favor of some zoning, was representing his constituents.

"I don't think you're doing your job," Robinson said.

Leavell looked at Robinson but didn't respond.

Leavell, reached at home this morning, said the request "caught me off guard, of course," but that he would not resign.

"I'm doing the best I can for the county," he said. "When you make tough decisions, you're not gonna please everybody."


Ron Collins followed Robinson and said he wanted the board to "to do away with the comprehensive plan."

The volunteer Planning Commission was created to draft a comprehensive plan that would set guidelines on development in anticipation of future growth. Opponents say the plan is just a way to implement planning and zoning, which they fear would lead to onerous restrictions on their private property.

Collins said he wanted someone on the court to make a motion to drop the plan. "I hope there'll be a second and get a vote tonight."

His request was met with silence from the magistrates.

"I guess I take that as a no," he said.

Monday was the court's first night meeting, and the courtroom was nearly full - mostly with zoning opponents, who have become increasingly vocal.

Long after the court adjourned for executive session to discuss a lawsuit against the county, many in the crowd lingered in the courthouse, hoping to address the magistrates again.

Among them was Robinson, who said his group is working on a course of action on zoning, but declined to provide any details.

"What we have discussed we don't want to say right now because it seems like it gets in the wrong hands and they counter-attack every time we do something," Robinson said.

He insisted his criticism of Leavell is strictly business.

"I have nothing personal against him; I've known Joe since I was a kid," he said. "I don't like the job he's doing as a magistrate in my district."

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