Saturday, July 16, 2016

Midway residents object to making Versailles bypass a goal of county's revised comprehensive plan

Dottie Cordray of Midway told the commission that the bypass appears “in direct opposition” to another goal of the plan
that says local governments should discourage tractor-trailer traffic from US 62. (Herald-Leader photo by Greg Kocher)
The proposed Midway bypass was a major focus of attention at a public hearing Thursday night on proposed changes to Woodford County's comprehensive plan. Several Midway residents objected to it, according to a story by Greg Kocher of the Lexington Herald-Leader.

At the behest of Planning Commission Chairman J.D. Wolf, the plan's proposed goals and objectives say the panel should "promote and encourage" the bypass, which would direct more traffic toward Midway Road, US 62. Gov. Matt Bevin dropped the $30 million project from the state's six-year road plan.

“It is a controversial proposal that has divided the community and it will always divide the community,” lawyer Hank Graddy said on behalf of the Woodford Coalition. “Fortunately, Frankfort has seen the wisdom of deleting this proposal. The planning commission should follow the lead of Frankfort.”

Midway Mayor Grayson Vandegrift said he has “always firmly supported Versailles’ right to alleviate their possible traffic concerns,” but “I don’t support doing so without trying other sound suggestions which to date have been ignored and which might avoid dumping the problem on their next-door neighbor.”

Vandegrift said that if the objective is not removed from the plan, it should be changed “to express concern for the traffic issues in Versailles but not favoring a currently undoable option out of many other doable ones.”

UPDATE, July 21: Vandegrift also objected to the absence of Midway's only member on the commission, bypass opponent Rich Schein, on the subcommitee that drafted the goals and objectives. He said it "looks like a not-so-subtle attempt to remove Midway's voice from the process as much as possible," The Woodford Sun reported.

Bob Pekny, who lives on the Kentucky River, told the commission, “I feel this does not belong in the goals and objectives unless you can show data that a clear majority of the people in Woodford County think that’s what they want. I don’t think that’s the case.”

Realtor Harold Steele, a bypass advocate, said a 2010 telephone survey found that 73 percent of respondents “wanted the bypass” and “I don’t think you have to be an expert … to stand at Corner Drug (in downtown Versailles) any time during the day and not recognize that we’re in bad need of a bypass.”

But Billy Van Pelt II, CEO of Woodford Forward, "said the bypass was the lowest priority among 1,463 people who responded to a 2015 survey by that organization," Kocher reports.

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