10:40am

Wed August 3, 2011
Business and the Economy

Bullitt Co. Church Against Project

A Bullitt County church was able to delay a vote on Tuesday to approve a large development project in its neighborhood. Members from Bardstown Junction Baptist Church filled the Bullitt County Courthouse, which approved a resolution to postpone a vote on whether to allow Red Rock Developments to develop a two-million square foot project nearby.

The developer passed the Bullitt County Joint Planning Commission in June but Pastor Mark Harrison said his church never got notice of the decision. The Bullitt County Joint Commission is responsible for sending notices to residents regarding any changes in development to their area, but the church had the wrong address registered with the county.

“We had nine days when we realized that it was coming to fiscal court for a final decision about the rezoning issue. And that was the time we had,” said Harrison.

In those nine days the church hired Lexington Attorney Bruce Simpson and put together a case, he said.

Red Rock Developments tried to negotiate with the church offering what it considered a generous package, said John Barker, Jr., senior vice president of Red Rock Developments. It included donating 1.5 acres to the church for free, building the church out of the flood plane it currently sits in and connection to adequate sewage. Barker said the package he offered was at least a $276,000 value.

Barker said development could create between 2,000 to 6,000 jobs depending on what businesses used the space. But the church wasn’t satisfied with the offers it received.

“They said the most we’ll give you is $500,000. Five-hundred thousand (dollars) wouldn’t allow the church to do anything, obviously. And they haven’t offered anything more than that,” said Simpson.

The church countered with a $5 million offer, which Simpson said it needed to relocate.

The Bullitt County Fiscal Court will take up a vote on Sept. 6.The church plans to continue negotiations with Red Rock Developments over the next month.