Monday, September 29, 2008

Council votes 5-1 to turn failed industrial park into residential and commercial development

By Ana Clegg
Community Journalism
University of Kentucky

The vote is in. Five of the six Midway City Council members were in favor tonight of re-zoning the Midway Station industrial park to a commercial and residential property.

After a two-and-a-half hour council meeting at City Hall, in which the council heard from lawyers on both sides and from members of the Midway community, the industrial park will be re-zoned.

Each citizen had only a minute and a half to voice opinion for or against the re-zoning. Most members of the community used the allotted time, while others ran out of time and Mayor Tom Bozarth cut them off. Most were against the proposal, saying Midway would lose its uniqueness.

Marcella Long said she would like to see more stores in Midway. Her story included a personal example of when she was trying to hang a picture in her home she couldn’t find a nail and had to drive another county over to get one nail.

Speaking longer were Henry W. “Hank” Graddy III, attorney for the Woodford Coalition, a group of neighborhood organizations active in land-use issues, and Richard Murphy, lawyer for developer Dennis Anderson. They took questions from council members about what the commercial part would include. Their answers included a wine vineyard, health-care facility and a reception hall.

Woodford County Fiscal Court Magistrate Gerald Dotson of Versailles said he was for the re-zoning because he wants the county stop paying the $508 a day in debt service on Midway Station, which has attracted little development. It has only three property owners. The city makes an identical payment.

Nick Bentley, a real-estate broker and developer who lived in Midway for 20 years and still has property in the town, said the residential development would “soften the rental market and de-value the real estate re-sale market … and Midway will go bankrupt.”

The county Planning and Zoning Commission recommended the re-zoning on the condition that no more than 50 homes be built each year. The development plan calls for just over 600 homes. That could double the population of Midway, which was 1,620 in 2000.

Diana Queen was the only council member to vote against the re-zoning. Generally, supporters of the re-zoning said it would bring more jobs to Midway.

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