Property devaluation without representation

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By The Staff

To the editor;

It appears that Cynthiana government officials have come up with a way to address a current cash flow problem at the expense of citizens who have no voice in the matter.

United Propane Gas wants to purchase a lot in the Industrial Park on Connersville Road. However, their business requires heavy industrial zoning, so first they must obtain a zoning change.

In an unusual twist, the people charged with deciding whether it is appropriate to allow the change on this lot located very close to an established neighborhood were able to do so with no concerns about backlash from the citizens they are directly impacting – because those citizens do not vote to elect city commissioners.

At best, this was unfair. At worst, it was a blatant misuse of power and exactly what our forefathers were fighting against when they wrote the constitution. After all, the government is supposed to work for the people, not find ways to raise money for itself by changing laws at the expense of citizens who cannot fight back.

The city commissioners had a straightforward job: to determine if a zoning change in this location was appropriate given the comprehensive plan and the surrounding neighborhood. Although there were many other issues involved, it was clear that the current zoning does not support heavy industrial businesses, and also that when the industrial park was set up, there were protective covenants established that prohibit businesses such as UPG and require many things that UPG stated upfront they do not intend to do.

There have been no significant changes in the area that would justify a change to those zoning laws; thus, it was the responsibility of the commissioners to reject the request. However, in what appeared to be an act of desperation, many of the commissioners and the mayor instead chose to do whatever was needed to enable the sale of a lot in the park– no matter the long term cost to the city or residents. Only Commissioner Grayson voted against the change.

The commissioners also made it clear that they had no wish to hear the voice of concerned citizens – first by rejecting a petition for a full hearing, which would have allowed local residents to speak at the hearing, and then by ignoring a petition signed by over 600 citizens (including 3 county magistrates) asking them to reject the zoning change request.

My recommendation to those of you who do have the honor of voting for city commissioners in the future is this: Beware. Next time it may be your quality of life and financial stability that is deemed irrelevant by city officials when they are making decisions about how to balance their budgets.

Jeannette Bracken

Paris, Ky.