Ky. Voices: Council rejected citizens' concerns about Kroger

September 2, 2013 

This is a recent concept drawing for the exterior of the proposed Kroger store on Euclid Avenue.

TOM EBLEN — Herald-Leader Buy Photo

  • At issue: Aug. 14 Herald-Leader article, "Zone change granted for Euclid Avenue Kroger; Lexington council unanimously approves over neighbors' objections"

Lexington citizens filled the Urban County Council chamber to capacity Aug. 13 for the final public hearing on the Euclid Kroger zone change.

Thirty citizens and one corporation signed up and spoke in opposition to the change.

Twenty-four citizens sent letters to the council expressing their concern and asking denial of the zone change, and many additional citizens brought their letters directly to the hearing.

Still more citizens had expressed opposition at the earlier Planning Commission hearing which was part of the record for the council to review.

Over 580 citizens signed the petition opposing the zone change. Gathering the signatures was the work of many dedicated volunteers.

The Euclid League spoke for the petitioners and for the Columbia Heights Neighborhood Association, whose board voted unanimously to oppose the zone change.

All these citizens gave hundreds of hours of time and spirit to the very hard work of democratic government under the law.

It is our belief that the zone change proposed with its associated variances and development plan was not in accord with the zoning ordinance for Lexington/Fayette in several critical elements.

Better advice and assistance from city administration and staff was needed to recommend to the Planning Commission, council and citizens a zone change and development project worthy of approval.

In the questions council had in examining the project, it could not escape notice that only a single citizen, a supporter, was addressed and called to the podium to offer further testimony.

If he professed to speak for a majority of citizens, that majority was indeed a silent one. Four citizens had signed to speak in support of the zone change, and three sent letters in support.

Not a single neighborhood association supported the zone change.

We thank the 11 council members who gave us a hearing and cast their votes. We thank especially Vice Mayor Linda Gorton and councilwomen Diane Lawless and Peggy Henson for voting to deny the zone change to 420 Marquis Avenue, another parcel included in this plan.

We are grateful for those conditions that were attached to the motion to approve the zone change.

We are aware that the work is ongoing, that there remains a public hearing before the Planning Commission, that much has been promised for the final development plan.

We are bitterly disappointed that the zone change was given unanimous approval by the council members present. We will not forget.

What if they held a democracy and nobody came?

Amy Clark is a member of the Euclid League and Columbia Heights Neighborhood Association.

At issue: Aug. 14 Herald-Leader article, "Zone change granted for Euclid Avenue Kroger; Lexington council unanimously approves over neighbors' objections"

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