Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Midway Magistrate Craig votes against 'tourist destination' ordinances; city council defers action

Midway Magistrate Larry Craig was the only member of Woodford County Fiscal Court to vote no last night on zoning ordinances that would allow restaurants, gift shops and other "tourist destination" operations in agricultural and industrial zones, an idea that has stirred opposition in greater Midway.

The 6-1 votes on the two ordinances were for first reading; a final vote and passage is expected Tuesday, Feb. 12. Affirmative votes by the Fiscal Court would establish the new zoning option only in the county's unincorporated area; it would take effect in each of the county's two cities only if approved by the city council.

The Midway City Council was scheduled to give first reading to the ordinances Monday night, but delayed action until its Feb. 22 meeting after Mayor Pro Tem Sharon Turner said "My understanding is the county is going to be asking for some changes on this."

However, at last night's Fiscal Court meeting, Magistrate Gerald Dotson moved to give the ordinances first reading, after confirming some details with County Attorney Alan George. All other magistrates supported the motion except Bruce Gill, who had a conflict because he spoke about the ordinances at a Planning Commission hearing, and Craig, who said their definitions allow too much interpretation.

"I think it's a little too vague, because a tourist destination could be Three Chimneys Farm, it could be 90 percent of the horse farms in the county," Craig said, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader. "I could see if a farm changes hands, someone seeing that as an opportunity to go from less agriculture and to more commercialism. If we're going to preserve agriculture in Woodford County, I think it needs to be a working farm more than a tourist destination."

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