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Open Pit Mining operation - do we want this in Clark County?Concerned Winchester citizens are pushing back against a Clark County illegal zone change made by their lame-duck Commissioner. (Back story here; see other links below.)

Why would the commission do this: vote to change zoning in an A-1 Ag zone to I-2 Heavy Industry, especially when Clark County’s Comprehensive Plan forbids it, given the circumstances?

The only apparent reason is so the Commissioners can accommodate a well-connected business in putting a gravel mine on a farm property surrounded by quiet residential neighborhoods. And not just that: it’s also a high-traffic tourist byway, as well as an historically and culturally significant area in Clark County.

Not to mention the fact that the focus of the entire Comprehensive Plan is to preserve and promote Clark County’s agricultural base! What gives?

What’s the Difference Between A-1 and I-2?

Huge. There is no zone before A-1 and none after I-2.  In A-1, only farms are allowed. As zones progress through the alphabet to I-2, more and more uses are allowed. In fact, in zone I-2, anything goes. Literally anything. And, of course, you can have more than one industry in a zone… so any of these uses can sit anywhere in the new I-2, including right next to each other:

6.16 – Heavy Industrial District (I-2)
the intent of this district is to provide manufacturing, industrial and related uses which may potentially involve nuisance factors such as noise, air pollution, odor, vibration.

6.161 Principal Uses Permitted
Any use permitted in the I-1 zone provided that all provisions outlined here in shall apply.

Manufacturing or industrial uses provided that any building or outside storage, loading or working areas except accessory parking areas shall be located at least three hundred (300) feet from any residential land use and one hundred (100) feet from any other use except I-1.

Manufacturing including but not limited to foundries, brick kilns, curing and tanning, glue manufacturers, fertilizer manufacturers, stockyard, slaughterhouses, rendering plants, junk or wrecking material yards, gasoline storage areas, refuse dumps, sanitary landfill areas, or automobile racetracks. The manufacturer and/or sale of rock, sand or gravel when a principal use.

Contractor’s equipment storage yard or plant.

Billboards and advertising sign.

How would you like to live next to any of those industries while paying a mortgage on your home? A home you bought in a certain zone to protect your investment and right of Quiet Enjoyment?

And What About This:

BEFORE the November 2013 election, after many public meetings, readings, discussions and lawyerly debates, the entire commission voted against.. a resounding “NO!” After the election, however, the three county commissioners voted FOR. What changed?

Please note that not only did Judge Branham vote against the mine, he is a member of the Neighborhood Association and working to overturn the illegal zone change.

Why Should This Concern YOU?

It should concern every Kentucky property owner. A small planning and zoning board broke its own laws to change a property zoned A-1 (Agricultural, the least intrusive, most harmonious zoning) to I-2 (Heavy Industrial, the most intrusive, least harmonious zoning) with no consequence.

If it happens in Clark County, it can happen in your county. Especially because now there is precedent. It’s not in your backyard yet, but if this stands, it’s coming.

To find out more, attend this meeting Monday 10/6:

For Immediate Release

The Southwest Clark County Neighborhood Association
Announces its Annual Meeting October 6, 2014 at the
Olde Rock Barn, 789 Boonesboro Road, Winchester, Kentucky

The Southwest Clark County Neighborhood Association is a Kentucky Corporation seeking non-profit status whose mission is to actively protect, maintain, and enhance the quality of life of residents in and around the southwest corridor of Clark County, Kentucky being mindful at all times of the unique flavor of the area and its historical heritage. Its coverage area includes historic Ford and Boonesboro, Kentucky, and follows the Kentucky River to Boone Creek and Athens, Kentucky.

The Association was formed when a zone change was proposed that would forever alter the character of the area by allowing the heaviest of industries to intrude into an agricultural/residential/tourism corridor.

Follow the group on Facebook.

Everyone should know who their friends are.

Sunshine is a powerful disinfectant, particularly when dealing with a governing body gone seriously off-track. Here’s what you can do to expose these actions to your neighbors:

Clark County Commissioners:

Rick Smith
2110 Water Works Rd.
Winchester, KY 40391

Vanessa Oaks Rogers
5876 Wades Mill Rd.
Mt. Sterling, KY 40353

JoEllen Reed
10 Casa Landa Way
Winchester, KY 40391

To attend a Fiscal Court Meeting and speak out as well: Second and fourth Wednesdays, 9:30 a.m, Clark County Courthouse, Winchester, KY.

Throw a little sunshine at the issue. Thank you for your activism!

Related links: