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Group appeals barrelhouse decision
  • Updated

The 151 Group LLC is appealing the decision of the Anderson County Fiscal Court and the Lawrenceburg-Anderson County Joint Planning Commission that approved the construction of bourbon barrelhouses for Buffalo Trace.

The 151 Group is a group that formed to advocate for interests of several residents off KY-151 near the proposed site of the project. The appellants listed are Annette Coffey, James R. Smith, Kenneth C. Alexander, Jon C. Akers, Cheri Curtsinger, Edward E. Curtsinger, Mike Settles, Jill Givan, Jerry Hughes, Linda Darnaby, George Shaffner, Vicki S. Van Hoose, Julie Goodpaster, Jeffrey Paul Wedding, LaDonna West, John R. Conti, Jr., Faye S. Green, and Kelly Carson.

Those listed as appellees include the Anderson County Fiscal Court, with each magistrate and Judge-Executive Orbrey Gritton listed, owners of the land in question Kerry and Lou Smith, Buffalo Trace Distillery Inc., and the Lawrenceburg/Anderson County Joint Planning Commission with each member and chair Betty Webb listed.

The 151 Group listed five counts against the decision to construct the bourbon barrelhouses. The first was that the rezoning does not comply with KRS 100.213,

The statute states, “before any map amendment is granted, the planning commission or legislative body or fiscal court must find that the map is in agreement with the adopted comprehensive plan… in the absence of such a finding…one or more of the following apply: a) that the existing zoning classification is given to the property is inappropriate and the proposed zoning classification is appropriate; b) that there have been major changes of an economic, physical, or social nature within the area involved which were not anticipated in the adopted comprehensive plan and which have substantially altered the basic character of such area.”

The second count claims spot zoning, an illegal practice that grants an industrial land parcel that is enveloped in an area designated for another purpose, such as farming or housing.

Claim number three is the rezoning goes against the comprehensive plan for the area of KY-151, an extension of the second claim.

The fourth claim was that the applicants of the zoning change did not conduct the necessary traffic study and provide the results to the planning commission, fiscal court, and public.

The last claim is that the constructed barrelhouses will create a temporary or permanent nuisance. They cite fires at other distilleries and barrelhouses, resources that they claim to be incapable of the project, and the suggested presence of whiskey fungus.

The petition document was submitted by the offices of W.H. Graddy & Associates and Dorothy T. Rush, both located in Woodford County.

On Friday, the following statement was released:

The 151 Group has decided to appeal to the Circuit Court the decision of the Anderson County Fiscal Court to change the zoning of 1939 Graefenburg Road from agricultural to light industrial. The decision made by the Fiscal Court disregarded established legal precedent and violated laws regarding proper zoning procedure in Kentucky. For over 20 years, residents of this agricultural/residential area have resisted changes harmful and not in keeping with the character of this area. The 151 Group has voiced highway safety concerns, property damage caused by black whiskey fungus, karst topography concerns as well as risk of fire and spills. We counted on the approved Comprehensive Plan and Lawrenceburg/Anderson County Joint Planning Commission to protect our agricultural and residential neighborhood from industrial zoning. In addition, we also expected our Fiscal Court who are elected officials to do the same by overturning the recommendation of the joint commission. With both entities failing to protect our agricultural and residential area, we felt this appeal was the only option left to protect ourselves.

No word has been given as to how the Anderson County Fiscal Court or Buffalo Trace is going to respond.

September declared "Childhood Cancer Awareness Month"
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The Anderson County Fiscal Court met for the bi-monthly 7 p.m. meeting on Aug. 16, starting the night with a special dedication from Lawrenceburg-Anderson County for childhood cancer awareness.

Anderson County Judge-Executive Orbrey Gritton and Lawrenceburg mayor Troy Young have declared September to be “Childhood Cancer Awareness Month” for Lawrenceburg and Anderson County. On hand to receive the official declaration were survivors of pediatric cancer and their families.

Judge Gritton made the statement, “prayer fixes all things”, which was met with resounding agreement by those in attendance.

The meeting continued with an approval of the last two meeting’s minutes, including the public hearing on July 19 and the August 2 meeting. After unanimous approval, the meeting went on to department reports.

An appointment was made, installing Greg Keeley to fill the post of Susan Burge. Burge was previously the secretary of the tourism commission. Unanimous approval was given for Keeley to fill Burge’s vacancy for the remainder of her term, until June of next year.

A deed of easement for a bus turnaround on Salt River Road was approved between Judge Gritton and Tiler Hahn.

The magistrates heard the first reading of 2022-9, which would grant 1039 Frankfort Road a rezoning classification from A-2 (Small Community district) to B-3 (Highway Service Business District).

Neighbors adjoining the property in question, owned by Morgan Penn, were on hand prepared to offer statements in regards to 2022-9, but were told to return for the September 6 meeting to state their case. Linda Shearer, owner of the property at 1033 Frankfort Road, acquired Joe Childers, Esq. to argue against the rezoning classification.

Opposition claimed that Penn has already been operating under the new zoning classification since mid-April without waiting for the approval of the fiscal court. The opposing parties were told to bring their comments to the 10 a.m. meeting on Sept. 6.

The Anderson County Board of Health and the Cooperative Extension Service recommended tax rates to the court for approval. The public health tax rate was approved at 3 cents per $100 of the assessed value of real and personal properties as well as motor vehicles.

The extension service tax rate was set at 1.4% for real property, 1.49% for personal property, and 1.7% for motor vehicles.

The county clerk’s office spoke of the need for help in eastern Kentucky following damaging floods before giving totals on taxes for July. The ad valorem tax came in at $24,941.14. The delinquent tax received was $2,616.62. The document storage fees received for half the month of July through Aug. 10 was $2,320.

The sheriff’s office concluded with a brief report, followed by an adjournment. The Anderson County Fiscal Court is scheduled to meet Tuesday, Sept. 6 at 10 a.m.

Concert Series concludes with great success
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The final concert of the 2022 Food Truck Friday Concert Series was held on Aug. 19. The crowd was heavy, as the concert was postponed due to inclement weather two weeks prior.

The Bourbon Beats mobile DJ provided the lunchtime crowd with music as they trekked to Century Bank Park to grab local wares of many flavors.

For the evening portion, Ashley Renae gave a unique kick to start off the night. Then the band No Fences provided concertgoers with their Garth Brooks tributes. The Indiana-based group brought smiles to many faces with their country-western classics and southern flair.

After the concert, the band put on Facebook, “Can’t say enough about the fine folks of Lawrenceburg, Kentucky. Great venue and amazing hospitality!”

Good times were met by great weather for last weekend’s concert, leaving many eagerly awaiting next year’s chance to rock, dance, and sing with great Bluegrass talent.

BOZA grants paving extensions for wedding venue
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The Board of Zoning Adjustments (BOZA) met on August 18 to conduct business for Anderson County.

After approval of July minutes, Mr. Monette of 1550 Beaver Lake Road came seeking a variance for a storage shed built near his property line. Mr. Davidson of 1546 Beaver Lake Road disputed the variance.

Monette built his 16’X30’ shed in 2016, approximately 348 feet from the road, not considering the overhang of the building. The structure is located less than five feet from the property divide. Monette claims Davidson knew and approved at the time, whereas Davidson claims he told Monette to seek approval through the proper channels.

Monette was made aware of the need to get a variance by the county inspector Lee White. Davidson offered to sell Monette the needed property for approximately $13,000, which Monette opposed. Regardless, the property could not be reduced in size. As an A1 property, it was nonconforming as it is was, being 1.42 acres.

Some solutions were offered, but the final decision was to deny the approval of a variance unanimously due to the neighbor’s opposition.

After that, William Moore Esq. of Versailles, represented Melissa and Chris Hanks, who looked to get a waiver for paving requirements for their wedding barn off Hwy 127. The argument was that pending litigation along with the formation of an agrotourism committee by the Fiscal Court might change the requirements of paving, rendering the cost unnecessary.

Several on the board, along with county attorney Robert Weido, Esq., agreed that the paving should have taken place when the venture first was granted a conditional use permit nearly five years ago. “It fell through the cracks,” Moore said.

Despite general agreement that it should be completed from the board, the waiver was granted, extending until March 31, 2023.

David Nutgrass, Esq. was representing the Carey’s in their attempt to get a conditional use permit for a residential dwelling for their property to be used by security personnel, as well as a waiver request for paving requirements for their proposed race track parking.

“We want to be treated just like you did the Hanks’ five minutes ago,” Nutgrass said.

The conditional use permit request was granted, but the paving requirement waiver fielded more comments, slowing the proceedings.

Up to speak against the waiver for the Carey property was county resident Amanda Mitchell. She made the claim that not paving for the proposed racetrack would potentially create a dust problem, as well as make the events impassable for emergency personnel. She cited an incident in Stanford where a child had a seizure as an example.

Mitchell spoke in favor of the Hanks’ waiver during their allotted public comment portion, saying their parking lot has not created a dust issue and that emergency personnel can safely pass.

In the end, the waiver request for the Carey’s was ruled to be unnecessary as the business is not currently in use for the purpose in question. Therefore, the request was tabled pending the outcome of litigation.