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Hillz isn’t hollerin’

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By Jonna Spelbring Priester

General Manager

A popular, but troubled, recreation park in Henry County has been closed — again.

Hillz-N-Hollarz, an off road vehicle park in the Lockport area, was shut down in March after a meeting of the Henry County Planning and Zoning Board of Adjustments, where the board reviewed the park’s conditional use permit.

Henry County Planning and Zoning Administrator Greg Derossett said property owner Fred Snider and Hillz-N-Hollarz park manager William Joe Lawson were sent letters in advance of the meeting via certified mail. Neither attended the Feb. 23 meeting.

“Since there was no one there to answer questions on behalf of Hillz-N-Hollarz, the board decided at (that) time, it would be appropriate to revoke the permit,” Derossett said.

After the decision to close the park was made, attorney Jean Kelley Cunningham told the board that Hillz-N-Hollarz no longer existed as a non-profit business, at least according to the Kentucky Secretary of State’s Web site. Cunningham has represented at least two neighboring property owners who, at one point, filed law suits regarding the park.

According to the Secretary of State’s Web site, Lawson filed Articles of Dissolution in October 2008. The document states that the dissolution was adopted at a September meeting of Hillz-N-Hollarz Inc., board of directors, where the decision received “a vote of the majority of the directors.” Officers for the business, at that time, were listed as Lawson, Snider and Debbie Burch.

On the same day the Articles of Dissolution were filed, a new organization registered with the state as Hillz-N-Hollars LLC, a for profit company. But now, Lawson’s name was the only one associated with the organization.

That, Derossett said was “in complete and total violation of their (conditional use) permit.”

The original permit, issued June 27, 2007, was issued to Lawson and Snider jointly, and not to the property. Any change to the operation, including Lawson or Snider’s partnership, would dissolve the permit immediately.

“What was done was done by Lawson himself,” Derossett said, noting that he thought it was a case of Lawson being “up to old tricks, trying to slide something past us.” He added, if it hadn’t been for Cunningham, the board probably would not have known about the change.

Derossett said that after the discovery, he spoke with Snider, and said Snider too was unaware of, and surprised by, the change.

Planning and Zoning’s last contact with Lawson came on Feb. 24, one day after the meeting, when he called to find out what happened at the meeting. “I told him what happened, and he didn’t really seem too concerned,” Derossett said. “I think he knew it was going to happen.

“I think he realized it would come out what he had done.”

The closure comes one year after Lawson and Snider found themselves defending Hillz-N-Hollarz from closure after violating the permit, and applying for a new one. At issue then was the installation, or lack there of, of fences at “points of confusion” in the park where trail riders might trespass on neighboring properties.

In February 2008, the permit had been suspended for holding a special event without approval, trespassing issues, operating past permitted hours, late insurance, maps not presented to the Planning and Zoning office, and the lack of gates.

Hillz-N-Hollarz originally incorporated as a non-profit agency with the Secretary of State in May 2007, and has been plagued by closures and squabbles with neighbors over trespassing and noise pollution.

A message left for Lawson was not returned, and a contact phone number could not be obtained for Snider.

 

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