WINCHESTER — Opponents of a proposed limestone quarry in Clark County received good news and bad news Wednesday from a circuit court judge.
The good news: Judge William Clouse ruled that the Southwest Clark Neighborhood Association has "standing" — or a direct interest in whether 165 acres of agricultural land is used for an underground quarry — unless there is more proof to the contrary.
The bad news: The judge ruled against several other motions sought by Hank Graddy Jr., the lawyer representing the neighborhood association.
In the meantime, the judge said he wanted written briefs from Graddy and John Rompf, the lawyer representing The Allen Co., on whether the county's comprehensive plan, a guideline for land use, should have been amended to specifically include a quarry as a land use before Clark Fiscal Court voted 3-1 in July to approve a rezoning.
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Rompf had no comment after the court hearing.
The Allen Co. operates a quarry in Madison County across the Kentucky River from the Clark County site that was rezoned. An underground limestone quarry operated on the Clark County site from the 1930s until 1959, before current planning and zoning regulations went into effect.
Under the company's plan, rock would be mined underground on the Clark County side and then transported by conveyor over Athens-Boonesboro Road and over the Kentucky River to the crushing yard in Madison County.
"Binding elements," or language in the rezoning ordinance by fiscal court, would keep agricultural uses on the surface — although a future fiscal court could change that language.
Clouse ruled against Graddy's argument that such binding elements are illegal under Kentucky law except in Louisville and Lexington.
Clouse also overruled Graddy's motions to vacate or reverse the rezoning because the county fiscal court did not have a complete record and did not have a Power Point presentation submitted by the neighborhood association.
Graddy also argued a motion — which the judge overruled — regarding legal arguments and other materials submitted to fiscal court by Rompf. Graddy contended that fiscal court had denied due process by failing to notify him about those materials and without giving him an opportunity to be heard.
Clouse previously had rejected Graddy's argument that The Allen Co. should have been barred from submitting a rezoning application in 2014. Graddy cited a planning commission bylaw that precluded a second application for the same zone map amendment if the first application was denied within the past two years. Fiscal court considered an open-pit quarry at the site in 2013.
The next court date in the case is July 22. Clouse might rule then on a motion for summary judgment. If granted, he could to make a decision on the rezoning without a trial.