Winchester neighborhood fighting against zoning change

Winchester neighborhood fighting against zoning change
Published: Sep. 21, 2022 at 10:22 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Hundreds of Winchester neighbors are concerned about a possible facility coming to their neighborhood. Now, they’re trying to get ahead of any zoning changes.

One couple said they may have to move if another industrial plant calls their street home.

“This is just some of what we’ve been dealing with the last 35 years. Take a gander at these and see just how close they are to the house,” said Eugene Morton.

Eugene and Joyce Morton showed picture after picture of large semi-trucks traveling up and down their narrow neighborhood streets. Then, the two walked us the mere 500 feet to the concrete factory that closed just a few months ago.

“We sat out on the porch. We don’t have to worry about all of the traffic. Whenever I left, my husband would have to come out and make sure that I could back out,” Joyce said.

Now, the Mortons and their neighbors fear that peace won’t last. Stuff Properties LLC bought the land the old concrete factory operated on. Then, dozens brought their concerns to city leaders at Tuesday night’s commission meeting.

Owner of Stuff Recycling Jerry Joiner says they bought that land, but haven’t submitted any plans or requests for zoning changes to build a plant on that site.

According to Planning Commission Director Rob Jefferies, the area is zoned light industrial, and it would have to be re-zoned to heavy industrial to support a recycling center.

“If Stuff was coming, we couldn’t fight them. We would have to move. Not again. Just not again,” Joyce said.

They said 200 people signed a petition ahead of any potential plant or facility that could come to their neighborhood, sharing the same health and safety concerns as the Mortons.

“With a zoning change, we, the community, we’ll be watching,” Joyce said.

The planning director suggests neighbors come to the several comprehensive planning meetings the city will have starting in October. At these meetings, they can make their requests for how they’d like that land to be zoned in the future land use maps.