The Jessamine County Fiscal Court went against the recommendation of the county’s planning commission Tuesday, approving the first reading of a zone change for Tabernacle Baptist Church and its pastor, Lonnie Moore.
Moore first made the request last year to change the zone of the church property, located at 2420 Lexington Road (U.S. 27), and his adjoining personal property to B-3, referred to as a “highway mixed-use” business district. The pastor had planned to divide his property and consolidate part of it with the church’s for the purpose of building a softball field.
The Jessamine County-City of Wilmore Joint Planning Commission voted 4-3 to recommend denial of the application in November after hearing two and a half hours of testimony and discussion of the matter at its October meeting.
Chris Horne of Horne Engineering represented Moore at the October meeting and told commission members that the change would comply with the county’s comprehensive plan, which designates the land as future commercial. The church is currently under a different business zone and an agricultural zone; Moore’s 5-acre property is zoned agriculturally, which does not allow parcels smaller than 5 acres.
About 40 people were in attendance at the October public hearing, with a dozen taking the opportunity to voice concerns about the proposed zone change. Several residents of the area said they were wary of added traffic and the possibility of commercial business on Vince Road in the future.
“I don’t want a B-3 piece of property sitting down the road from me as a time bomb, and that’s kind of what it is,” said Peggy Kanotz, who lives at the corner of Vince Road and Vincewood Drive.
The planners’ narrow decision to recommend denial leaned on commission attorney Bruce Smith’s findings that a designation on a future-land-use map did not require rezoning to that future use and that a “compelling need” for the change had not been presented. Smith also presented findings for approval, based on the change’s agreement with the comprehensive plan.
The decision fell to the fiscal court Tuesday.
The magistrates agreed to make their decision based on the evidence gathered by the planning commission and not conduct a new hearing. Terry Meckstroth made the motion to reject the planning commission’s recommendation and approve the first reading of approval for the zone change; the motion passed unanimously without a vote from George Dean, who abstained because he owns adjoining property.
Meckstroth declined to comment on the decision after the meeting. The decision would become final upon the approval of a second reading, currently scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 7.