Monday, February 20, 2017

Council annexes, rezones for Lakeshore; OKs task force for brewery or distillery; talks trees, firefighters

Property annexed and rezoned (Tim Thompson survey; click image for larger)
The Midway City Council annexed more farmland for industry, heard plans for fire department training and pay, vented about recent tree work, and discussed attracting a brewery or distillery to the town, all at Monday night's regular meeting.

The council passed on second reading ordinances annexing 34.184 acres of the Homer M. Freeney property on the north side of Midway Station and changing its zoning from agricultural to light industrial. Lakeshore Learning Materials plans to use the property for the second phase of its distribution center, the first phase of which is under construction and promising 262 jobs. The rezoning ordinance included approval of a final development plan for the property.

Later in the meeting, Council Member John McDaniel asked if the city could put in its agreements with Lakeshore and American Howa Kentucky a requirement that they pre-treat their wastewater.

Mayor Grayson Vandegrift said the plants will have to follow city ordinances, and Council Member Bruce Southworth, a former water-sewer superintendent, said pre-treatment is required by ordinance.

Fire department: Vandegrift said his proposed budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1 will include money to train Midway firefighters as emergency medical technicians and raise the pay they get for making a run.

The mayor noted that the fire department has expanded its services to non-fire emergencies, and said having additional EMTs will help address the need for such services until Woodford County locates an ambulance station in the Midway area. He asked the Public Works and Services Committee to meet with Fire Chief Butch Armstrong and other members of the department to discuss details of the training.

UPDATE: The committee is scheduled to meet at 1:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 27 at City Hall. All council and committee meetings are open to the public.

Tree treatment: Council Member Sara Hicks said Kentucky Utilities "left limbs all over my yard" when cutting trees recently, including some prickly holly branches, and asked if the council had any way to get the electric company to do better. Southworth said, "They should have cleaned all that up."

Vandegrift said he could inform KU of the council's feelings, but then Council Member Libby Warfield weighed in. She said the company had failed to reply to her complaint "as a private citizen" about sloppy tree-trimming on West Cross Street, "and it's still really a big mess over there. I think we need to really fuss about it." Vandegrift said he would draft a letter to KU.

Bourbon or beer? With the council's approval, Vandegrift appointed a task force to explore the possibility of attracting a brewery or distillery to Midway. He said some vacant buildings in the downtown area "would be perfect" for either purpose, and noted that the town has "a long history" of distilling. The last distillery closed around 1940.

Members of the task force are McDaniel, former council member Dan Roller and Steve and Julie Morgan, owners of Kentucky Honey Farms.

McDaniel said Country Boy Brewing, which recently opened a brewery in Georgetown, looked at Midway two and a half years ago. "They were wanting to do it over here but we didn't have any place that was big enough," he said.

Other business: The council's packet included a list of prioritized ideas from the council's recent special meeting, with major goals in boldface and assigned to council committees. For an abridged copy of the council packet, click here.

When Vandegrift said the city's revised website has been up for a while and has saved money by consolidating services through its information-technology vendor, Hicks suggested that the goals be added to the site.

Warfield asked what had happened to the city's bid to take the old Weisenberger Mill Bridge when it is replaced, with plans to put it in Walter Bradley Park. Vandegrift said the replacement project seems to have stalled, perhaps because of local opposition to the state's planned two-lane bridge. "As far as I know they have not been acquiring property," he said.

Warfield asked about her request for a stop sign at Cottage Grove in North Ridge Estates. Vandegrift said he thought putting up a sign might be counterproductive, because it could cause an accident, but he said he would seek an expert's opinion. When Warfield said, "It's not to get people to stop, it's to get people to slow down, Vandegrift said he could put the city's radar speed-limit sign at the intersection. "That would be helpful," Warfield replied.

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