Lawsuit brought against Triple S

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By Scotty McDaniel

"As a member of the community, I just think compliance to the rules is essential to the well-being of the community."

That's why Kathryn W. Sjothun said she, along with William L. Selvidge, M.D filed a lawsuit against the Triple S Planning Commission's approval of the minor subdivision application of Charles and Helen Crabtree Stables, Inc. last month.

On July 1, 2008, Crabtree Stables and Redd Crabtree filed an application with Triple S seeking approval of a minor subdivision on land zoned agricultural. The request was put in for the creation of one tract containing 2 acres with a residual tract of 17 acres at the property located on 199 Colt Run Road.

The Commission held a public hearing and heard opposition to the application on July 15. Although the commission staff recommended that the application not be approved, the Commission proceeded to approve it the same night.

In a previous interview, Ryan Libke, executive director of Triple S Planning and Zoning, said the staff recommended the commission deny the request based on the fact that such a division is not allowed under current zoning regulations. The Crabtree farm is in an agricultural zone, and regulations state that the minimum lot area in the agricultural district is 5 acres. The one written exception is the allowance of one tract containing a minimum of 2 acres only if the tract is the first division from a farm since November 15, 1961.

According to the records, the Crabtrees bought the 43-acre tract in 1955. Then in 1986 all 43 acres were transferred to Charles & Helen Crabtree Stables, Inc. More recently, in 1996 the Crabtree Stables sold 23 acres, leaving the near-20 acres in question.

When the property was sold in 1996, Libke said that action took it out of its original status. He said it no longer dates back to 1961, so only 5 acre minimum tracts are allowed, according to the regulations.

The lawsuit accuses the commission of not following zoning regulations, and it states that the commission's approval of the Crabtree application was "arbitrary, capricious, violated due process, exceeded the Commission's statutory authority, was not supported by substantial evidence and was otherwise contrary to law and fact."

It goes on to say that the commission's approval of the application was in violation of the "Kentucky Revised Statutes, Chapter 100, the Shelby County Zoning Regulations, the Shelby County Subdivision Regulations and the Shelby County Comprehensive Plan."

The appellants want the Commission to reverse its approval and deny the Crabtree application. It also calls for appellants to be awarded other relief to which they are entitled, as well as award appellants attorneys' fees and costs of this action.

Libke said Triple S had no comment on the lawsuit at this time.