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Planning And Zoning Punts On Dollar General

After Split Votes, Controversial Rezoning Case Goes To Fiscal Court

Robert Moore

Herald Staff

Once again, the Mercer County Joint Planning and Zoning Commission failed to reach a decision on the controversial Herrington Lake Dollar General.

The choice before the commission was deceptively simple. They could vote to recommend rezoning of 2.33 acres owned by Paul and Linda Barnes in order to build a 9,100 square foot Dollar General Store, they could vote to not recommend the rezoning, or they could vote to send it to the Mercer County Fiscal Court without a recommendation.

But each time the case has come before the commissioners, they’ve been unable to make a decision. At a meeting in March, they voted to table the motion and in April they were unable to reach a consensus. Under state law, motions that end in tie votes have to be tabled for 30 days and be brought before the commission again.

But one month made no difference to either the commissioners or to the people on either side of the issue who packed the meeting room during a special called meeting on Tuesday, May 7.

Two separate motions—one sponsored by board member Daarik Gray to recommend rezoning the land from residential to commercial and another sponsored by board member Mike Harden to not recommend the rezoning—both resulted in tie votes.

No new testimony was heard at Tuesday’s meeting, but the six-member board remained deeply divided.

Commissioner Harden, who cited the opposition among many residents towards the store, said the nearby businesses had not changed  the “economic character of the area” which, under zoning regulations, would make it appropriate the rezone the property.

Commissioner Gray, who said he had spoken with residents who wanted the Dollar General built, said he felt there had been changes in the economic character of the area. Neither argument managed to change anyone’s vote.

Shawn Moore, executive director of planning and zoning, said he would forward the proceedings to the Mercer County Fiscal Court, who will make the final decision.

“They just kicked the can down the road,” said Paul Barnes, who owns the property.

It was not known by press time when the fiscal court will consider rezoning the property.

Find the rest of the story on page 1A of this week’s issue of the Harrodsburg Herald or click here to subscribe.

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