Saturday, October 11, 2014

Planners OK industrial zone for tract next to Station, clear way for hearing on financing; Anderson confident

By Sarah Brookbank
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Telecommunications

Midway was a hot topic at the Versailles-Midway-Woodford County Planning and Zoning Commission meeting on Thursday. Three items focused on Midway Station, the long-planned development north of Interstate 64.

Many changes for Midway Station have been planned over the years but not much has happened at the site since its development in the 1990s. That might be changing soon, the prospective developer's construction of a McDonald’s and a Shell station underway on the southeast corner of the interchange, and there are rumblings of more development to come, such as a Midway Station factory.

The first item on the docket was the rezoning of an area adjoining Midway Station and Georgetown Road. On Sept. 11 the commission held a hearing to rezone 37.111 acres from A-1 agricultural and R-3 residential to I-1 light industrial. The area was considered an extension of the already I-1 industrial zoned area that is Midway Station.
Area recommended for industrial zoning is white outlined in purple. Area recently rezoned industrial for prospective factory is mainly yellow outlined in purple. Area in solid purple has been zoned industrial since original development of Midway Station.
The commission did not take action to recommend rezoning of the area until Thursday. Tim Butler, the attorney for the commission, said after Thursday's meeting that the members wanted time to read a substantial amount of paperwork before voting.

The rezoning of the area attached to Midway Station was recommended without dissent. If approved by the county, it will add 38.22 gross acres to the industrial area of Midway Station, which is to be a mixed-use development. The commission also approved the initial development plan.

According to the commission’s findings of fact, the development “will promote the goal of industrial development by increasing the amount of I-1 land available… [and] promotes employment by providing additional work place opportunities for Woodford countians seeking employment.”

Redevelopment of Midway Station has been very slow in coming, and one item on the docket showed that very well.

A representative of Anderson Communities, the prospective developer, asked for re-approval of the preliminary plat, a basic map and layout of the area that will be developed. Approval expires after one year, so re-approval was needed because construction had not begun within that time. Nothing about the plan has changed in the year, expect the additional area which had been approved earlier in the meeting.

The re-approval of construction shows that things have been slow going at Midway Station. According to the initial development plan, $30.7 million needs to be spent on infrastructure to turn what was an industrial park into a mixed-use development.

Anderson Communities plans to use tax-increment financing, which uses tax revenue from redevelopment to pay for necessary public infrastructure.

A necessary step for Anderson’s TIF was the last Midway Station item on the docket. Chris Westover, an attorney for Anderson Communities, asked the council to “certify that the Midway Station Mixed Use TIF Development Area complies with the 2011 Comprehensive Plan” adopted by the commission and local governments.

On Oct. 7 Dennis Anderson showed the Midway City Council his infrastructure plan, which amounts to $30.7 million in construction on roads and sidewalks, water and sanitation systems, electricity and other essential infrastructure, almost half the cost for parking spaces in the residential and commercial development.

A local planning commission must certify that the development plan fits within the local comprehensive plan before it moves up the ranks to the state. The commission adopted the certification without dissent.

Butler said the next step is a public hearing in Midway to determine support of the project. This hearing is scheduled for Nov. 3 at 6:30, immediately after the regular city council meeting. If the council approves the development plan for Midway Station, the project will move to the state for further approval. If the state approves the project, Anderson Communities will be allowed to use TIF funds to pay for the $30.7 million of infrastructure.

Westwood mentioned Midway Station’s long struggle for success, starting with its development by the Woodford County Economic Development Authority. “It was first zoned for industrial uses back in the 1990s and when the EDA acquired it they installed all the infrastructure but the development did not happen. Several years later there was a stockyard proposed and everything fell apart. After that Dennis Anderson worked out with the EDA to develop a mixed-use project.”

It looks like Anderson may finally get build on Midway Station, and for a long time. The development may take 20 years to complete. The only question now, along with the TIF, where will the initial funding come from?

“We will not have any trouble securing financing,” Anderson said after the meeting.

No comments: