(Florence, Kentucky)—Answers in Genesis was denied a zone-change application this morning to build a Creation Museum and offices on 25 acres off I-275 in Northern Kentucky and near Cincinnati, Ohio.
“Answers in Genesis is extremely disappointed in the Boone County Fiscal Court and the county’s planning commission by their denial of our requested zone change,” declared Ken Ham, founder and President of Answers in Genesis, a four-and-a-half year old ministry defending the Bible from the very first verse.
Ham continued: “The county’s Comprehensive Plan clearly provides that the tract of land should be zoned for ‘industrial’ use, which is how our intended use is classified. To deny our zone-change request in the face of the Comprehensive Plan is arbitrary and violates our rights. We intend to appeal and pursue any and all legal remedies against the county to which we are entitled.”
The Fiscal Court agreed today with the commission’s findings, which were clearly arbitrary and dubious:
- The commission, which voted 9-5 against the rezoning proposal on September 16, argued that the interchange near AIG’s proposed property “may support some commercial highway service establishment, especially if casino gambling occurs in [nearby] Lawrenceburg.” Ham responded, “The commission wants to stop our ministry from building there, but would welcome gambling-related businesses. This is blatant viewpoint discrimination.”
- The commission ruled that Industrial-1 zoning “does not include office land uses” and therefore AIG’s zoning application must be denied. Ham observed: “This is absolutely wrong and not a matter of interpretation. The zoning regulations used by the Planning Commission clearly state that offices are principal uses on Industrial-1 property” [section 11.7].
- The commission also argued that the “necessary” infrastructure was not available (e.g., improvement needed on an access road; building a waste-water treatment system). Ham responded that “the county had told us weeks ago that we would have to provide that infrastructure, so we agreed to that, and now they say they can’t rezone the property because it doesn’t have ‘necessary’ infrastructure in place. This is a type of Catch-22 and shows the clearly arbitrary nature of their decision.” Ham also noted that the Comprehensive Plan only requires “adequate” infrastructure.
Ham concluded: “Answers in Genesis remains committed to relocate its facilities to the site in question. We believe that an appeal court will overturn this decision and require the county to follow its own Comprehensive Plan and zoning regulations.”