Boone Creek Adventures has filed suit in Fayette Circuit Court against the city's Board of Adjustment, asking that the board's denial of a conditional-use permit for a proposed commercial outdoor recreational facility be ruled invalid.
Short of that, the suit asks that the board conduct a new hearing on Boone Creek Adventures' request and limit the information to be considered, excluding testimony that is "irrelevant, immaterial, incompetent, (or) prejudicial."
On Jan. 27, the Board of Adjustment voted down an application by Boone Creek Adventures to develop the recreational facility on Boone Creek in southeast Fayette County.
Landowner Burgess Carey sought permission to open the facility on 167 acres of rural land where he now operates a private fishing club. He proposed activities such as hiking, camping and kayak ing, but the main attraction would have been a zip line for small group "canopy tours" over Boone Creek Gorge.
The zip line became a main sticking point with Board of Adjustment members and is a pivotal issue in the lawsuit, filed Friday by attorney John Park.
Don Todd, an attorney for opponents of the permit, argued at the board hearing that zip lines are regulated as an amusement ride under state statutes. Having a zip line would turn Boone Creek Adventures into an amusement park, a use prohibited by local zoning ordinances for rural areas, he said.
In the lawsuit, Park contends a zip line "in and of itself does not constitute an amusement park" as Lexington's zoning laws define amusement park. A canopy tour would be a outdoor recreation, not an amusement ride, he said.
Park said Monday there are about 28 companies "operating devices that are licensed and regulated by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture as amusement rides or amusement attractions in Fayette County." They include Chuck E. Cheese's, Gattitown, Crossroads Christian Church, the city's Tates Creek aquatic center and Commonwealth Stadium.
Park said he had researched the zoning for several of those sites. "The ones I have checked, each one is operating in a zone that prohibits amusement parks," he said. "My point is, just because a business uses a devise regulated as an amusement ride does not mean it is operating an amusement park."
The board's ruling "raises questions about why they allowed these other amusement attractions in non-conforming uses but turned thumbs down on Boone Creek Adventures," Park said.