by Deborah Yetter , @d_yetter –
FRANKFORT, Ky.— A bill to limit appeals of zoning decisions passed the Senate Tuesday — twice — and must go back to the House for approval of a change made in the Senate to exempt landfills.
The Senate had to hold a second vote on the House Bill 72, after leaders discovered it didn’t pass with enough votes to be considered as an emergency measure to be enacted immediately. It garnered the minimum favorable 20 votes on the second ballot.
HB 72, would require people to post bonds before appealing zoning decisions from a circuit court, a move an environmental group opposed to it called a “developer’s dream.”
Others have called HB 72 the “Wal-Mart bill,” because of controversy over citizen appeals of a proposed store in Louisville that won exemptions from some zoning regulations. Wal-Mart eventually dropped plans to built the store on West Broadway.
The bill encountered opposition in the Senate from some members who argued it would limit rights of people to protest developments that could affect their neighborhoods.
“This bill will put a significant impediment in front of people who want to challenge land use cases,” said Sen. Ray Jones, a Pikeville Democrat. “It benefits big business and big corporations at the expense of people in our community.”
The Kentucky Resources Council called it the “developer’s dream bill” in a tweet urging people to call legislators in opposition to HB 72.
But Senate President Robert Stivers, a Manchester Republican, called it a fair way to manage appeals and noted that opponents to proposed projects have several opportunities to be heard before filing an appeal from circuit court, starting with the local planning and zoning commission.
“You have an administrative process for zoning,” he said.
The House must approve Senate changes before final passage.
Contact reporter Deborah Yetter at 502-582-4228 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.