Planning And Zoning In Hot Seat Again

Commissioners Hear More Complaints

Robert Moore

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Once again, Harrodsburg-Mercer County Planning and Zoning Commission is on the hot seat.

At Monday’s city commission meeting, citizens complained about Planning and Zoning Executive Director Shawn Moore. They claimed Moore selectively enforced zoning ordinances and discouraged developers from building new homes in Harrodsburg.

Doug McKinney of Rags to Riches said Moore had removed signs McKinney had put up.

“I put up signs twice a year,” he said, to promote the 127 Yard Sale and the U.S. 68 Yard Sale. McKinney said he started with 26 signs two years ago, but now has only six left today. He said he didn’t have proof Moore took the other signs, but he had two witnesses who say Moore took two signs.

Reached at his office on Tuesday, Moore admitted to removing two of the signs, but said he was fulfilling his duty. He said the signs had been attached to utility poles and were in a right-of-way, which violates state law. Moore also said he removed another 15 signs that were not connected to the yard sale. He said he did not touch the other signs McKinney had put up.

McKinney said he was upset that signs other than his were left standing, and told the Harrodsburg City Commission that he had photographic evidence of the selective enforcement. He stressed the positive economic impact the two yard sales have locally.

“It seems like every time somebody tries to start something, he tries to stop it,” McKinney said.

That sentiment was echoed by Paul Thompson and Chuck Nichols, two developers who have been trying to build 27 homes on a five-acre lot on Shewmaker Lane since January 2017.

They finally received their first building permit, but they say Moore has specifically held up a second permit.

The developers and Moore agree that the hold up has been a road that needed to be laid before building could start. Road construction has been held up by inclement weather, the developers say, but it has finally been installed. They are now ready to begin construction on the first two units.

“We’re pouring two-footers on Wednesday if it don’t rain,” Nichols said.

They also said they have a hard time finding Moore in his office in order to address the issue. Moore has been out on medical leave since Aug. 6. Moore declined to speak on what was said at the meeting, which he did not attend.

In the end, Thompson and Nichols have been held up one week, but they say their complaints are not just about Moore and Planning and Zoning, but about the City of Harrodsburg.

“If you were a true businessman, you’d be an idiot to move here,” Nichols said.

“Nobody in this town wants any kind of change,” said Thompson.

“These people are ready to start bringing people into Mercer County,” said Commissioner Marvin Isham, a frequent critic of Planning and Zoning, in general and Moore in particular.

“We hear complaints weekly on Shawn Moore,” said Isham, who criticized how Moore addressed applicants. “You can’t talk to people like that.”

“I think a change needs to be made,” said Commissioner Scott Moseley.

However, the city commissioners are limited in what they can do. Moore is an employee of the Planning and Zoning Commission, not the City of Harrodsburg.

“We’ve met two times with the fiscal court and the planning and zoning commission and we’ve gotten nowhere,” Moseley said. He invited Thompson and Nichols to air their complaints at the fiscal court meeting, but the developers did not attend the Tuesday morning meeting.

Mayor Eddie Long said he would look into issuing the second building permit.

“We want to do the best we can do to get people to build,” Long said.

For the rest of the story, check out this week’s issue of the Harrodsburg Herald.

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