A neighborhood association in Clark County feels the Kentucky Court of Appeals misunderstood issues when it upheld a Clark County judge’s decision to allow for the rezoning of 165 acres of agricultural land that the Lexington-based Allen Co. plans to use to reopen a closed underground limestone quarry.
In the petition for a rehearing of the March decision, Hank Graddy, a lawyer who represents the Southwest Clark Neighborhood Association, said the Court of Appeals failed to consider certain issues, including a “silent” narrative in the Clark County Comprehensive Plan about the planned locations of quarries in Clark County.
The petition states because the comprehensive plan fails to mention a plan for the location of limestone quarries in Clark County, limestone quarries are not authorized in Clark County under the comprehensive plan.
The Southwest Clark Neighborhood Association and 30 individually named plaintiffs filed the petition.
The rehearing petition is the latest step in a controversy that has been brewing for several years. In 2014, Allen Co., a road construction and asphalt paving contractor with several quarries in Central Kentucky, sought to rezone land near the Kentucky River in Clark County, near the Madison County line.
Under the company’s plan, rock would be crushed underground in Clark County and then transported by conveyor belt over Athens-Boonesboro Road and the Kentucky River to an existing crushing yard in Madison County, which the Allen Co. also owns. The conveyor is intended to lessen the use of large trucks traveling roads in the area.
In July 2014, after a planning and zoning commission meeting in which the rezoning request was denied, the Clark County Fiscal Court approved an ordinance which allowed for the land rezone, overruling the commission’s recommendation.
Later that month, the Southwest Clark Neighborhood Association sued Clark Fiscal Court and the Winchester-Clark County Planning Commission, its members and the Allen Company.
The lawsuit asked a judge to conclude that the fiscal court’s action was contrary to the county’s comprehensive plan, which is a guideline for land use in the county. Opponents hoped the lawsuit would reverse the Clark County Fiscal Court’s decision.
However, the group lost the suit in 2015, leading to the appeal and the subsequent opinion.
Graddy said a petition for a rehearing is not granted frequently. He said filing for a rehearing gives the plaintiffs more options instead of just filing for a discretionary review by the Kentucky Supreme Court, as it allows for the Court of Appeals to correct possible mistakes.
“On the other hand, if I file the motion for a discretionary review, I lose the opportunity to ask this court to correct what I believe are possible errors,” he said.
If the petition is not granted, a discretionary review by the Kentucky Supreme Court can still be filed.
Deborah Garrison, president of the Southwest Clark Neighborhood Association, agreed with Graddy’s statements.
“We believe the court should reconsider (its) ruling,” she said.
Garrison said the neighborhood association remains opposed to the quarry and the rezoning because it could harm the area’s residents and historic nature.
Graddy said there is not a concrete time period when the court may decide to grant or deny the rehearing.