Attorneys for city, developers ask judge to throw out planning c - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Attorneys for city, developers ask judge to throw out planning commission lawsuit

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Metro government and developers are asking a judge to dismiss a lawsuit alleging that the city’s planning commission failed to follow state law in approving a FedEx distribution center in eastern Jefferson County.

The lawsuit, filed last month in Jefferson Circuit Court, claims the makeup of the Louisville Metro Planning Commission violates parts of Kentucky law requiring no more than half of the members have a financial interest in the development and construction industries.

As a result, residents, preservationists and a government watchdog group say the mostly Mayor-appointed panel’s actions are biased in favor of developers.

But attorneys representing the planning commission, the city and developers argue that the groups “failed to raise their challenges” to the membership of the planning board during a March public hearing. Among other arguments, they note the lawsuit doesn’t allege any commission members had a “direct or indirect interest” in the FedEx development plans.

Also at issue is whether some of the residents who filed the lawsuit live close enough to the project to warrant a “proper” zoning appeal under state law, attorneys for developer Setzer Properties Zelo say in court documents.

In addition, Setzer’s lawyers contend that the groups’ requests -- asking Circuit Court Judge McKay Chauvin to nullify the planning commission’s approval of the FedEx plan and to declare the commission’s membership illegal – aren’t allowed under state law.

“To do so would be to place any and all decisions of the current Commission and the rights of untold property owners in jeopardy. Clearly, such a result is not within the proper scope” of an appeal under Kentucky law, Setzer’s attorneys said in court filings.

The lawsuit was filed by 21 residents, along with the Tucker Station Neighborhood Association, the Floyds Fork Environmental Association, the Wolf Pen Preservation Association, Open Louisville and Neighborhood Planning and Preservation.

Those groups are suing the planning commission, Hosts Development, Setzer Properties Zelo and Metro government, including Mayor Greg Fischer and the Metro Council.

The planning commission in March approved a proposed FedEx distribution center on Plantside Drive and an office, warehouse and distribution project on Rehl Road, according to court documents. Setzer applied for the FedEx project on land owned by Hosts, and Hosts owns the Rehl Road land, according to the suit. Both proposals are in the Blankenbaker Station II business park.

The case is pending in Jefferson Circuit Court.

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