By Brenna R. Kelly
The Cincinnati Enquirer
BURLINGTON - In front of a standing-room-only crowd Tuesday night, Boone County Fiscal Court rejected one contentious zoning request and put off a decision on another.
The court voted unanimously to go along with the Boone County Planning Commission's rejection of a zoning change for a condominium development on Boone Aire Road that was deemed to have too many units.
The court did not take action on a change to allow beer to be sold at a craft store near Big Bone Lick. The Planning Commission had also rejected that request.
At least one commissioner said she would like to see the store before voting.
Grand Communities wanted to build 14 two-story condominium buildings on 17 acres on Boone Aire Road near Glen Arbor Drive.
Residents in The Links subdivision, which backs up to site, said the development would lower their property values and increase traffic.
Commissioner Charlie Kenner agreed.
"The Links is almost built out. ... At this point I think it would be really unfair to them to allow something this dense," Kenner said before making a motion to deny the zone change.
But Judge-executive Gary Moore cautioned that multifamily is the best use of the land, once the site of the Boone Aire Country Club.
"The number of units and things that couldn't be addressed is what led to the unanimous denial," he said. "The property is going to develop. Land in this area we can't expect to stay green forever."
He hinted that commissioners might be willing to accept a variation of a 1988 plan that was approved for the site.
That plan allowed 90 town homes in 26 buildings.
Larry Sprague, a vice president with Fischer Homes, which wanted to develop the site, said he was disappointed it was not approved.
"We feel our proposal was fine development that would be an asset to the Boone County community," Sprague said.
Sprague said he did not know yet whether the company would file an appeal in Boone Circuit Court.
In the other zoning case, the Planning Commission recommended the Fiscal Court deny a request from Nancy Jordan Blackmore and Peter Blackmore to change the zoning on their 5 acres on Ryle Road to recreation from agricultural.
The Blackmores want to sell beer at their recently opened Kentucky craft store, Jane's Saddlebag, and have an amphitheater stage.
Residents in the area, who hired Florence attorney Ed Drennen to argue their case, say beer would attract bikers and more traffic.
Nancy Blackmore said a few residents caused the zoning change to be denied.
"A zone change in Boone County is a cruel experience," she said, urging the court "to right a wrong and make a decision based on truth."
She also pointed out that beer is available three miles one way from her property and five miles the other.
Offering beer would fit into their goal to bring tourists to the area, she said.
"I don't think that tourism needs a beer license," said Nora Meyer of Rabbit Hash, "I don't think tourism needs a zone change."
Commissioner Terri Moore said she would like to see the site before voting.
"I am grateful that they are going to look at this," Nancy Blackmore said. "I think on an issue like this the Planning Commission should have been required to go down and look."
Fiscal Court could vote on the issue at its next meeting, May 4.
Unless the Fiscal Court overturns the Planning Commission's decision by May 18, the commission's decision takes effect.
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