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East Louisville residents, concrete company reach settlement over mixing plant

Hundreds of people fill the pews at a church during a community meeting.
Roberto Roldan
/
LPM
Hundreds of east Louisville residents attended a meeting about a planned concrete mixing facility across from the Lake Forest subdivision.

After months of negotiations and a lawsuit, this week residents of Louisville’s Lake Forest neighborhood reached a compromise with the developer of a proposed concrete mixing plant off Aiken Road.

Hundreds of neighbors packed into a nearby church last August to express concerns about the planned development by SI Ready Mix and Sunshine Builders. Many claimed they never received proper notice in order to voice their opposition to Louisville’s Development Review Committee before the project was approved. They also feared the concrete facility would bring increased traffic to an area that includes Stopher Elementary School, a residential subdivision and St. Mary’s Center, an organization serving adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities.

Donald Cox, a lawyer representing the Lake Forest Homeowners Association and other neighbors, said Thursday a settlement has been reached. Sunshine Concrete agreed to shift traffic in and out of the facility onto Old Henry Road, which is larger and has less residential development.

“There’s no way [residents] are going to be happy with a concrete plant back there,” Cox said. “But we got what we wanted, which was traffic off Aiken Road.”

As part of the settlement, SI Ready Mix and Sunshine Builders also agreed to build asphalt rather than gravel roads on the property to reduce the amount of dust kicked up into the air by mixing trucks.

Damon Garrett, owner of Sunshine Builders, declined to comment on the settlement.

The property where the concrete mixing plant will be built has been zoned for industrial use since 1982. The city’s Development Review Committee approved the project at a meeting last March. No residents attended the meeting to oppose it, and they said that’s because they never received any notice.

“I think you already violated part of your legal position when you didn’t notify the ‘Tier 1’ residents, which I think should stall this [development] until such time that everyone has a chance to say something,” one neighbor said at the community meeting last year.

Emily Liu, who heads Louisville Metro’s Department of Planning and Design, said at the time that Sunshine Builders had submitted postage labels to the city along with a sworn affidavit saying the notices were sent out.

Cox said Thursday he believes the conflict surrounding this project highlighted how the city’s Planning Commission and Development Review Committee aren’t responsive to neighborhood concerns.

“If someone has made applications and worked with [Planning Commission] staff, you don’t have much of a chance of getting things turned around even though it’s obvious here that the developer was concerned about the claims we were making,” Cox said.

The concrete mixing plant is still awaiting permitting approval by the Louisville Metro Air Pollution Control District.

Residents represented by Cox agreed to drop their opposition to the owner’s air pollution permit application as part of the settlement. But Cox said neighbors could file their complaint again in the future if environmental concerns arise.

Roberto Roldan is the City Politics and Government Reporter for WFPL. Email Roberto at rroldan@lpm.org.