Tuesday, March 11, 2003

Boone development post contested

Moore remains firm on board reappointment

By William Croyle
Enquirer contributor

BURLINGTON - The second-fastest growing county in Kentucky is getting an earful on residential development - from both sides of the argument.

But Boone County Judge-executive Gary Moore says he is not budging on his recommendation to reappoint David Zimmer to the Planning and Zoning Commission, despite pressure from local builders.

Moore said he has been flooded in recent days with e-mails, phone calls and letters from people associated with the home building industry, asking him to reconsider his recommendation.

Moore needs the support of at least two of the three county commissioners at tonight's fiscal court meeting for Zimmer to retain his job.

Zimmer is one of 15 members on the Planning and Zoning Commission that forms and administers the county's comprehensive plan (a 25-year vision of the county), along with subdivision and zoning regulations.

Moore appointed Zimmer to the post in 1999, one of five new planning and zoning commissioners he appointed that year.

"Dave Zimmer has been an asset to Boone County and makes development in Boone County better," Moore said.

"I know he's been referred to by some as anti-growth, but I don't see him as being that. I see him as a person not afraid to ask the tough questions and participate in spirited debates."

Dan Dressman, executive vice president of the Home Builders Association of Northern Kentucky, disagreed with Moore's perspective.

He has asked the fiscal court to deny Zimmer a second term.

"A lot of it is subtle pressure put on by individuals like him in preliminary hearings where the builder has to do this or that or they won't pass it," said Dressman.

"We're seeing a trend in Boone County where they are requesting a lot of concessions, even when the builder's plan meets the comprehensive plan."

Dressman said every time a concession is added or a delay in the home building process occurs, home prices go up. "It's almost like an additional tax," he said.

Of the three county commissioners - Cathy Flaig, Charlie Kenner and Terri Moore - Kenner and Moore said they are still undecided how they will vote tonight.

(Commissioner Terri Moore is not related to Judge-executive Gary Moore.)

The meeting is at 5:30 p.m. in the administration building.

"Being the newest, I still have a lot of legwork to do," said Terri Moore, who was elected to her first term as county commissioner in November.

"I've read some of what he's done, and he's done a decent job."

Kenner said he wouldn't say Zimmer is against growth, but has yet to make a final decision.

"Different people have expressed some concerns, but there hasn't been any real pressure from anybody," said Kenner. "I'm still up in the air on it."

Flaig said she's made up her mind, but won't reveal her vote until this evening.

She said she attends about 75 percent of the Planning and Zoning Commission meetings each year.

She was the only member of fiscal court who voted against Zimmer's appointment in 1999.

"I felt he didn't represent enough in the rural areas," Flaig said.

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