WINCHESTER — A judge has ruled against a neighborhood group's efforts to reverse the rezoning of land for an underground limestone quarry in Clark County.
On Thursday, Clark Circuit Judge William Clouse Jr. affirmed the Clark County government's approval of a 2014 rezoning to allow the quarry. Clouse denied several motions, filed by attorneys for the Southwest Clark Neighborhood Association, to vacate the rezoning.
Hank Graddy, an attorney for the group, said Monday that he would ask the judge "to re-examine his rulings, and depending on how he responds, an appeal is likely."
Clark County Attorney Brian Thomas, speaking for Clark Fiscal Court, said "the judge did a good job in looking at the facts from an impartial perspective."
The association opposed the rezoning of 165 acres of agricultural land for heavy industry use. The Allen Co. plans to reopen the closed underground quarry near Boonesborough.
The Allen Co. operates a quarry in Madison County, across the Kentucky River from the rezoned Clark County site. The underground quarry operated from the 1930s until 1959, before current planning and zoning regulations went into effect.
The company plans to blast rock loose on the Clark County side and transport it by conveyor belt over Athens-Boonesboro Road and the Kentucky River to the crushing yard in Madison County, where the rock would be crushed, sized and made marketable. The conveyor is to reduce the use of big trucks on narrow rural roads.
Clouse ruled that Clark Fiscal Court's interpretation of the zoning ordinance that a "heavy industrial district" includes operating a quarry as described in The Allen Co.'s application "was a lawful and reasonable interpretation."
Clouse also wrote that fiscal court's finding that the rezoning was in agreement with the county comprehensive plan "was not arbitrary and is supported by substantial evidence in the record."
He ruled that the Winchester-Clark County Planning Commission and fiscal court weren't required to amend the comprehensive plan, a land-use guideline, before the zone-change request.
The conveyor plan has not received approval yet from state and federal agencies.