Fiscal Court reverses planning commission, OKs Log Still Distillery zoning request

Magistrates Gary Coulter, left, and Keith Metcalfe. (NCG file photo)

Nelson County Gazette / WBRT Radio

Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020 — Following a brief discussion period, Nelson Fiscal Court voted unanimously to approve a rezoning request that had been denied by the Joint City-County Planning Commission in September.

The rezoning request involved a home and 1.15 acres adjacent to the Log Still Distillery project in the New Hope area. The court approved a request to change the zoning from A-1 Agriculture to B-1 so that the Dant family could use the home as its permanent office.


Keith Metcalfe — the magistrate whose district is where the property is located — read a lengthy prepared statement in support of the rezoning request. At the end of his statement, Metcalfe made a motion to approve the rezoning.

The court had decided to accept the planning commission evidence and its record from its September meeting, which meant the magistrates’ ability to ask questions were limited. No new evidence could be presented regarding the zoning request by either those against or in favor of the request.

Several Dant family members attended the virtual teleconferenced meeting.

Reading from his prepared statement, Metcalfe noted that the zoning request is part of the larger distillery project that “has brought unimaginable improvements to my district.”

The distillery plans include a restaurant, a visitor’s center, an amphitheater, craft distillery and a tasting facility, he said. The distillery plans “warrant a specific exemption to the comprehensive plan.”

Magistrate Jeff Lear reminded the court of the importance of supporting all businesses in the county, not just the bourbon industry.

“The decisions we make shouldn’t be specific to one industry,” he said, though he added that the planned distillery’s economic changes present a valid argument in support of the zoning request.

The court approved first reading of the zoning change, and will hold the second and final reading at a short Fiscal Court meeting at 9 a.m. on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020.

ROOM AT THE INN. The court approved a funding partnership with the City of Bardstown to provide funds to hire nighttime innkeepers for the Rood At The Inn program.

The program normally uses volunteers that stay with the program participants each night. However, due to the threat of COVID-19, many volunteers are not able to help as they have in the past.

The Department of Local Government has approved the use of CARES Act money to help the organization hire part time innkeepers.

The magistrates unanimously approved a donation of $8,028 that matches the amount the Bardstown City Council approved last week to help the Room At The Inn pay for part time innkeepers.

COVID AT THE JAIL. The Nelson County Jail is accepting inmates now, and currently houses 70 inmates, according to Nelson County Jailer Buck Snellen.

The jail still has 20 inmates houses in LaRue County.

Snellen said he recent brought five female inmates back to the jail, and three of them tested positive for COVID. The health department has advised the jail to avoid knowingly admitting COVID-positive inmates.

The court also discussed the jail’s ongoing medical costs. Judge Executive Dean Watts provided the court with a comparison of other county jail’s medical costs, and said the he felt in comparison, the Nelson County Jail medical expenses were less than other facilites.

Watts told the court that if an inmates medical expenses exceed $2,000, the state pickes up the cost.

EMS REPORT. Emergency Services Director Joe Prewitt told the court that the county is running short on gloves for first-responders, including the Nelson County Sheriff’s Office and Nelson County Jail.

A box of 100 gloves that was previously priced at about $3 now can retail for as much as $30, he told the court.

The county reported 34 new COVID-19 cases on Monday, Prewitt said. The hospital is not seeing an increase in COVID patients despite the rising positive cases, adding that an increase in testing is identifying more positive cases of people who are symptomatic or have very mild symptoms.

In other business, the court:


— heard Sheriff Ramon Pineiroa praise Chief Deputy Joedy Gilliland, who will retire from the sheriff’s office next month. Deputy R. B. “Dickie” Jones is being promoted to serve as chief deputy.

— the court approved the appointment of Magistrate Jeff Lear to the Bardstown Industrial Development Corp. He will replace Magistrate Bernard Ice.


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