By Benjamin S. Rossi
11:41 AM EST, December 12, 2012
Opposition to the Westgate subdivision took another blow Monday night when appeals to halt building on the highly litigated property were denied by the Nicholasville Board of Adjustments.
In three unanimous votes on the separate appeals, the board upheld the building permits given to former Nicholasville planning commissioner and builder Shawn Murphy to construct homes at 101 and 104 Alley Run.
The foundations on the properties were laid by SGM Homes, owned by Murphy, just days after his resignation from the planning commission in September.
Murphy was on the planning commission when it voted to approve the subdivision plan by developer RCCB, LLC, but he recused himself from voting.
Versailles attorney Hank Graddy, who filed the three appeals to stay construction on behalf of R.J. Corman Real Estate, LCC, stated before the board that the permits were lacking a storm-water-management plan, a landscaping agreement and a maintenance plan.
Attorney David Marshall, representing Clay Corman, Banks Engineering, RCCB, and SGM Homes, made the case to the city’s board of adjustments Monday that all the concerns had been addressed in the comprehensive plan and then studied and approved by the Nicholasville Planning Commission.
As far as a maintenance plan, Marshall stated once the plat was finished, the maintenance responsibility was accepted by the city of Nicholasville in October.
The city commission voted 5-0 to accept the maintenance plan once the developer installed a street, a water-distribution system, a sanitary-sewer collection system and a storm-drainage system.
R.J. Corman has sued developer RCCB, owned by his uncle Clay Corman, in Jessamine Circuit Court.
There are currently six lawsuits surrounding the Westgate subdivision, which is in contention by R.J. Corman over concerns that building the 24-unit single-family subdivision on the wetlands and 100-year flood plain is being done improperly and was allegedly approved illegally by the planning commission.
The lawsuits against Clay Corman cover increased traffic problems, decreasing property values and alleged damage to the protected wetlands.
The mini-plat, which is located between R.J. Corman’s property and Rosenwald-Dunbar Elementary off Wilmore Road (Ky. 29), was approved by the planning commission in March.
Presiding over the multiple lawsuits, Judge Hunter Daugherty has already denied Graddy’s motion to halt construction, which began in September — a ruling that is also in appeal.
Board of adjustment attorney Bobby Gullette said earlier this year that the city was looking at least five to 10 years’ worth of litigation over Westgate.
“I may have underestimated the veracity of (R.J. Corman’s) resolve when I said that,” Gullette said Monday. “I would not be surprised to see an appeal over every single one of the 24 lots as this goes forward.”
Gullette also represents the planning commission, which is a party in the lawsuits, alongside Marshall in court.
Gullette alluded that both R.J. and Clay Corman have the funds and resources to keep litigation going for well beyond that time frame.
The board was wary to vote on Graddy’s appeal Monday night to halt SGM Homes from construction.
However, Gullette advised them that due to the “in-artfully” constructed letter of the law that the appeal falls on them and that it would be “grossly unfair” and costly to developer and builder not to make a decision.
Gullette suggested that the decision, no matter the outcome, would probably be appealed by one of the parties anyway.
Gullette said he hopes the law will be modified so that the board of adjustments may avoid the burden of the imminent future appeals over the Westgate subdivision.