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Commission approves zone change for Ark site

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By Ken Stone

The Grant County Planning Commission, in an 8 to 2 vote, gave their approval to a recommendation for a zone change from Industrial 1 and 2, to PUD, (Planned Unit Development) on property on Ky. 36, just off the Williamstown I-75 exit.

Williamstown attorney Jeff Shipp and attorney David Wallace spoke on behalf of the City of Williamstown for the zone change at the Dec. 13 meeting.

“The city has the right to change the zone. There is nothing unusual about this,” said Shipp.

“What the City of Williamstown wants to do is to take the first step in bringing 900 jobs to Williamstown,” he said, in reference to the proposed Ark Encounter, which recently announced plans to build a full-scale replica of Noah’s Ark on an 800-acre site.

Attorney Richard Hopgood spoke against the zone change recommendation.

“This is a pretty important matter to us,” said Hopgood. “We are being squeezed into a corner to sell our property.  This is not an appropriate zone change. The existing zoning is appropriate. Vulcan is already in compliance with the comprehensive economic development goal and stated objectives.”

Hopgood, represents Vulcan, who wants to build a rock quarry on the site.

An attorney from Mago Construction Company, an asphalt company that has owned land in the area for 30 years, also spoke against the zone change, saying, “Mago’s use of the property has not wavered. Our objective is to use the land for its intended purpose and we do not want to sell.”

The Grant County Planning Commission’s options were to recommend or not to recommend a zone change. The final decision for the zone change lies with the Williamstown City Council.