Seems like it was just a few weeks ago when we last discussed the BOZA-Butchertown-Swift-Metro Government mess.
Remember it? Laws broken, chairwoman ousted, yadda yadda. You know how the story goes in Louisville. If you have friends in high places? You get a free pass.
So… dun dun dun… let’s talk about that some more.
Yesterday, the Butchertown Neighborhood Association filed a complaint for judicial review and declaration of rights against the Board of Zoning Adjustments, Metro Government and foreign corporation JBS Swift. I think the bigger issue lies with corruption of BOZA and Metro Government. So we’re digging in.
- On the very same day that JBS Swift sent a request that was 12 days late (in violation of the Kentucky Revised Statutes) to BOZA for an indefinite extension of a modified conditional use permit, BOZA’s recently re-elected chairwoman was informed by Jerry Abramson’s crew that she was “being allowed to retire” – against her wishes and the wishes of the board. The next day, BOZA revised its meeting agenda for the following business day to include consideration of the late request, in violation of the Open Meetings Act and BOZA’s own Docket Procedures Policy. JBS Swift was informed of the agenda change but the Butchertown Neighborhood Association was not.
- On August 16, Assistant County Attorneys that it was up to BOZA whether or not it granted JBS Swift’s late (against KRS) request. They didn’t bother telling BOZA that state law required that request to be submitted 30 days before the permit’s date of expiration or that if said request had been properly filed, BOZA could only grant a single one-year extension. The attorneys made up law and told BOZA there was “an argument” that JBS Swift’s time to comply had been impacted by unspecified litigation. Despite the fact, of course, that they admitted there was no law or anything in writing to support that argument. And they couldn’t identify any litigation impacting the compliance. Both the Assistant County Attorneys and JBS Swift had previously allowed the use permit to expire.
- Kentucky’s law required JBS Swift to use its permit by August 31 or submit a request for a one-year extension 30 days prior to that expiration date. That didn’t happen. Then BOZA violated open meetings law by holding an unannounced meeting to make a decision about the request without its usual chairperson and without representation from the Butchertown Neighborhood Association. And it misinformed members of BOZA about the law.
Isn’t the Board of Zoning Adjustment supposed to protect the public health and safety by adding conditions to use permits? BOZA gave JBS Swift an indefinite extension of time to use its expired permit. And the company gets to continue operating while refusing to comply with its conditions and challenges them in court. All while ignoring potential hazards and nuisance(s) in Butchertown.
JBS Swift should have had to file a new application for a conditional use permit if it wanted to continue operations. The law says as much. But BOZA ignored the law and continued down the path of further building Jerry Abramson’s corrupt fiefdom.
Click here (Warning: PDF Link) to read the entire complaint, which I just got my hands on late last night.
This mess reeks of the same lack of transparency and corruption surrounding the Javanon Soccer Club headache we experienced in Louisville not too long ago. And I think it’s time our mayoral candidates, who are obsessed with talking about transparency, to talk specifics on this front.