KY Court of Appeal Found Civil Claims Arising from Rejection of the Amendment to the Inadequate Zone Map

This post was written by Matthew Loescher, Esq.

Representatives for the City of Paris, Kentucky, submitted an application for an amendment to the zoning map to rezon the 47-acre property from a conservation district to light industrial. The City of Paris Commission and its representatives entered into non-disclosure agreements with prospective corporate buyers to conceal their identity. A bourbon distillery was due to be built on the property, but the local Planning and Zoning Commission held a hearing where evidence was presented, and then voted six to three to reject the zone map amendment. The Planning Commission was unanimously rejected by the City. The Bourbon Circuit Court then issued a ruling in favor of Citizens, thereby overturning the City ordinance that adopted the map amendment. The Court specifically found that the City’s decision was not supported by substantial evidence, and that the Respondent was denied due process.

The record reflects that the City issued thirty-three findings of fact in support of the ordinance that passed the zoning amendments. As due process, Tenants and their advisers were allowed to voice their concerns in lengthy hearings before the Planning Commission, and there was no indication that the City failed to consider the Commission’s notes and recommendations. The Tenants further claim that the circuit court erroneously awarded a brief decision in favor of the City because they were entitled to a discovery about their civil rights claim, that the court erred in concluding the City was entitled to legislative immunity, and also erred in concluding that their civilian claims unworthy rights. Because the court agreed with the circuit court that the civil rights claim could not be enforced, the court did not address discovery or immunity.

City Commissioner of Paris v Vance, 2023 WL 323727 (KY App. 20/1/2023)

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