Monday, November 14, 2011

Comprehensive plan mostly approved; equine preserve remains, parkway reference deleted

By Nate Courtney
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Telecommunications

The county planning commission voted Thursday night to adopt a new land-use plan that keeps the protection the agricultural-equine preserve in the northern part of Woodford County.

In addition to the ag-equine protection, the commission voted to delete any mention of extending the Bluegrass Parkway to Interstate 64, a project that would have to go through northeast Woodford County and some of the richest soil and horse farms in Kentucky.

But the commission did vote to include extension of Falling Springs Boulevard to U.S. 60 and Midway Road – the only issue Midway Mayor Tom Bozarth spoke about at the public hearing on the plan a week earlier.

Bozarth said then that extending Falling Springs Boulevard would “adversely affect the city of Midway, all of the farms, and anyone who travels Midway Road regularly” because it would “put more traffic on Midway Road.”

But commission Chair Brian Traugott said this road extension was in the state’s six-year road plan and “to ignore that fact was not proper planning.”

In his column in tonight's Woodford Sun, Bozarth, a bloodstock agent, said the commission "made the right decisions," and specifically mentioned the equine preserve.

Versailles Mayor Fred Siegelman, who had endorsed the entire plan at the hearing, said Thursday night that the Bluegrass Parkway extension “had been talked about for 30 years” and didn’t think it would be built “in his lifetime or the lifetime of his kids.”

Several residents at the hearing complained that the commission had not made clear its reasons for the changes and that the speakers could not engage the commissioners in direct conversation. At Thursday's meeting only the commissioners spoke; Traugott, David Floyd and Jim Boggs, read prepared statements.

After reading his statement and motion, Traugott defended the plan, saying he’s concerned about the lack of manufacturing jobs in the county and that the county’s number of people 60 and older rose 45 percent from 2000 to 2010.

“These facts do not bode well for our future,” he said.

Still, Traugott has not lost his since of humor.

He said he got “one positive email,” saying, “The revisions to the comp plan were well thought out and I loved your editorial in The Woodford Sun. Love, Mom.”

The protections for the equine preserve were the commission’s biggest obstacle in passing the land-use plan.

In a post-meeting interview Traugott said that the commission never wanted “anything bad to happen to the horse farms” and added he was “very pleased with the vote.”

For a copy of Traugott's four-page motion to approve the plan, click here.

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