Metro Council approves regulations for permitting the use of anaerobic biodigesters

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – After more than a year of community forums and reviews, the Louisville Metro Council on Thursday approved regulations which control the permitting process for the use of anaerobic in Metro Louisville.

“As I have shared so many times past, “I am pro technology; however, I am extremely concerned about the anaerobic digester in densely populated area,” said Councilman David James (D-6), “The constituents that we all represent in Metro Government deserve to live in neighborhoods that enhance their quality of life. I appreciate the support of my colleagues passing this ordinance. Thank you so very much!”

“I have been very passionate and adamant that anaerobic biodigesters should not be located in residential areas,” says Councilwoman Mary. C. Woolridge (D-3). Tonight, I am happy to know that my colleagues also were listening to the people of West Louisville who have always felt left out of these decisions. I would like to thank my colleagues; this was a big win for all of us.”

James and Woolridge were primary sponsors of the ordinances along with Councilwomen Barbara Shanklin (D-2) and Vicki Aubrey Welch (D-13).

The new regulations state that an anaerobic digester will only be located in areas zoned M-3, which is designated for heavy industrial use. No permit would be issued if the facility is less than one mile from a residential areas and commercial establishments involving children, the sick and indigent.

The permit issued for the facility will be a Conditional Use Permit that would have to be approved by the Board of Zoning Adjustment. No waivers could be granted by BOZA for this one mile distance.

“This is a victory for the community. They raised legitimate concerns about safety and quality of life issues with this new technology that we have never encountered before,” said Shanklin. “These new regulations will give us away to make sure the community is safe.”

“For too long the people of West Louisville have been forced to accept unwanted change when it came to decisions of economic development that others areas would not tolerate,” said Councilwoman Jessica Green (D-1). “With this ordinance, West Louisville is finally being heard and I want to thank the Council for moving these regulations forward so we can all have a decent environment to live.”

Discussions around the use of anaerobic biodigester began last year when STAR Energy planned two such facilities at the proposed FoodPort and near the Heaven Hill Distillery located at 17th and Maple Street. After community concerns were raised, the Council passed a resolution calling for a moratorium on anaerobic biodigesters until the Planning Commission could propose regulations for the new technology.

The ordinance now moves on to Mayor Greg Fischer for his signature.


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