08/03/10 — Pikeville officials will wait on zoning request

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Pikeville officials will wait on zoning request

By Laura Collins
Published in News on August 3, 2010 1:59 PM

PIKEVILLE -- The Pikeville Board of Commissioners decided to wait on making zoning changes that were requested by Elm Grove Church at Monday night's meeting.

Originally church officials had requested a portion of their property be changed from community shopping to RA-20, which would allow them to include a cemetery on the property.

Last year An Open Door Community Development Corporation announced plans to build Golden Gate Pavilion on land owned by the church. The pavilion would include community shopping, senior housing and community center, and a cemetery, among other features. The CDC is still in the beginning stages of the project and is currently conducting a capital campaign to raise money for the pavilion.

The Pikeville Planning Board met last week and voted unanimously to approve the request to change the zoning for the property.

"It was an upgrade for the property and no one saw problems with it," Planning Board Chair Luke Vail said.

But Mayor Johnny Weaver and board members had concerns.

"If the church would lose ownership of the property. With RA-20, a chicken farm or a hog farm could go out there," he said. "RA-20 is dangerous."

Attorney Tommy Jarrett also attended the meeting. He represents the landowners to the north of the property, MFSP Development LLC, whose sister company sold the land to Elm Grove Church and said they would be against the zone change and putting a cemetery on the property, although legally they can't stop it. He later added that a cemetery would lower the property value.

Elm Grove Church Pastor Kenneth Vaughn responded that the cemetery will have a gate and fence around it.

The mayor and members of the board seemed in favor of a cemetery on the property, but were not in favor of the RA-20 zoning. Weaver said he'd like to "accommodate the church without changing the zone" and suggested that the church and the CDC reapply for a zoning request, but ask for a special use permit. If the permit is passed by the board, it would keep the zoning community shopping, but would allow the church to build a cemetery on the property.

The planning board is expected to meet to discuss the new request and another public hearing will be held later in the month.

Also at the meeting the board decided to take action in cleaning out some of the clogged ditches in town. Weaver said now that it's hurricane season, he was worried about possible flooding in the town. Since the town has to have permission to clean out ditches on private property, board members agreed to personally take permission slips door-to-door in town in an effort to get started on the ditches as soon as possible.