In its current zoning, the church's property could be used for a school, daycare, another church or a family residence, Planning Director Deborah Bruckman said. It is zoned for agricultural purposes, but Rompf said it is unsuitable for growing crops.
Bruckman suggested further study before the Planning Commission approve the request.
Pastor Jerry Mills said his real estate agent recommended he apply for the zone change to better market the property. Potential buyers have inquired about the land, he said, but there have been no serious offers.
When Mills requested the more narrow highway business zone change Tuesday - and left adjacent properties out of it - the result was the same as in May.
"I feel like this is putting a great burden on the community there," Commissioner Clare Sipple said. "You made a business decision to move to Lexington."
She said the vocal opposition by residents of Mount Sterling Road and the neighboring Winetown community were a factor in her decision.
"It's just an overwhelming disapproval of this zone change in the area," she said. "I think we need to pay attention to what the residents want."
Karen Epperson, who lives across from the church at 6600 Mount Sterling Road, said she was worried about the noise, car accidents, theft, vandalism, and loss of property value.
"We purchased that house 10 years ago to retire, and that was our dream home," she said. "I just think it's sad, and it would be a sad shame that we would have to take our dream home and look out the window and see a truck stop or whatever it is every day."
If a highway business was built on the site, Epperson said she would have to spend extra money to upgrade the security system on her home.
"We like the peace, we like the quiet, we like watching the moon set at night time," she said. "We would truly miss all that."
Brian Murray, of 277 Sugar Ridge Road, said he chose to live in the area for its quality of life. The bright lights and signs from a highway business would disrupt that, he said, and suggested the church building be converted into something else.
"I'm totally against any business going in there," he said.
Ann Barker, who lives on Mount Sterling Road on the farm where she was born, said there are already plenty of rest stops, stores, gas stations and fast food between Mount Sterling and the interchange.
Planning Commissioner Doug Christopher cited the local comprehensive plan in his motion to deny the request. Commissioner Dwain Wheeler reversed his May vote to oppose the change.
"Interchanges don't get developed for a reason: because there's not a demand," he said. "They (church) knew when they bought it the downside."
The Planning Commission meets again Sept. 2 in regular session.
Contact Katheran Wasson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
RV park requested for Athens-Boonesboro Road
The attorney for an Ohio developer withdrew a request Tuesday to approve plans for a recreational vehicle park, which could be located alongside the Kentucky River off Athens-Boonesboro Road.
Details of the plan changed since it was advertised and neighbors were notified, so the item will reappear at a later meeting of the Winchester-Clark County Planning Commission.
The Planning Commission did approve a change to the conditional use permit granted to the RV park in January, allowing for non-motorized boats, such as canoes and kayaks, to be rented at a dock on site.