City Manager Daron Jordan said Tuesday night he has had “multiple conversations” with a variety of companies interested in coming to a failing golf course that’s on a fast track to be rezoned for light industrial uses.
As 160 people watched in a high school auditorium, the city commission gave first reading to a rezoning ordinance for Stoner Creek golf course. No vote was taken.
However the commission is scheduled to have a second reading and vote 9 a.m. Thursday on the second floor of the Bourbon County Courthouse. An announcement about the Thursday morning meeting was on the Paris city web site before the Tuesday night meeting began.
After that meeting, Jordan said the property could be marketed to a variety of potential businesses. “I’ve had multiple conversations with people in the distillery industry,”Jordan said. “I’ve had multiple conversations with people in the manufacturing industry. I’ve had multiple conversations with people in other industries.”
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The city agreed to purchase the golf course for $650,000, but officials won’t say who wants to build on the site or what they would build.
The city said it had not signed an agreement with any company to develop the property, but Jordan acknowledges the city signed a nondisclosure agreement regarding the property.
The Bourbon County Planning Commission voted on Aug. 16 to deny the zone change for 48.4 acres from a conservation zone to light industrial. The city is expected to overturn the planning commission’s denial.
If the city votes to rezone, the public would have 30 days to appeal the decision in Bourbon Circuit Court.
Bruce Simpson, a lawyer who represents the Wyndamer Neighborhood Association, said no decision has been made to appeal.
Simpson told the city commission that it would be illegal to hold another public hearing without the proper notice as prescribed by law. That notice would include a posting on the golf course 14 days before such a hearing, and 14-day notice to all the surrounding property owners.
Simpson said City Attorney Bryan Beauman had indicated the city commission would make its decision solely on the planning commission record.
“If nothing said tonight or introduced by way of documents tonight can be accepted in terms of your decision or have any influence on your decision, then I would request that you would inform the public right now that that’s the case so we don’t waste your time in being here,” Simpson said.
Beauman advised the commission not to hold a hearing. “It would not be surprising to anticipate that a lawsuit is coming, so why give them another ground to sue us over?” Beauman said.
Commissioner Tim Gray said he “doesn’t feel good about not hearing from the constituents of our community.” In the end, the commission had Beauman read the six-page ordinance without hearing from the public.
Christie Overman, who lives south of the golf course, was angry that she wasn’t allowed to speak at a regular commission meeting earlier Tuesday nor at the Tuesday night meeting.
“I was stifled,” Overman said. “I was shut down twice in one day by the city of Paris.”