Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Council rezones, starts to annex land for industry; discusses restaurant vestibule in Main Street sidewalk

By Austyn Gaffney
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Media

Midway’s City Council rezoned and began to annex more property for industry at Midway Station, and discussed the new, temporary vestibule outside Heirloom Restaurant, at a regular meeting Monday night. It also heard about safety trainings that will be available in the city.

The council approved a zoning map amendment and heard first reading of an annexation ordinance for 34 acres at Midway Station that Lakeshore Learning Materials intends to use for expansion of the distribution center it is building. Mayor Grayson Vandegrift said second reading and passage are set for the next meeting, Feb. 20.

The council also approved a reimbursement agreement with the Woodford County Economic Development Authority for Midway’s commitment of $450,000 for the $2.8 million gas line to Midway Station. The EDA plans to repay Midway most, if not all, of the financial commitment with net profits from land sales.

The council also heard from Woodford County Emergency Management Director Drew Chandler. He invited the community to a monthly, one-hour CPR training for bystanders at the Woodford County Courthouse, and a Community Emergency Response Training session Saturday, Feb. 25 and Saturday, March 11, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., with lunch provided, at The Homeplace at Midway.

The council approved Chandler’s proposal to apply for a grant from Kentucky’s Homeland Security Department to buy a new computer for the fire department.

Proposals by council members at the end of the meeting included Sara Hicks’ request to move the city’s cemetery database to a user-friendly site like www.findagrave.com or www.billiongraves.com, to which members of the Veterans Committee have posted the graves of military personnel. Libby Warfield praised those efforts, led by committee member Jimmie Murphy.

John McDaniel suggested the downtown Christmas tree be moved to another location replaced by a smaller tree less likely to damage surrounding infrastructure. Mayor Grayson Vandegrift agreed. Warfield complained about speeding near the lower end of Cottage Grove, and she requested that Vandegrift consider adding a three-way stop there.

The recently installed vestibule at Heirloom
Warfield’s complaint wasn’t the only one discussed Monday evening. Vandegrift said county Planning Director Pattie Wilson told him she has received two or three complaints about the vestibule recently placed outside Heirloom restaurant.

Vandegrift said the main issues were the obstruction of the sidewalk, which he said he wouldn’t press for now because the city leases the restaurant sidewalk space for tables and chairs in the summer, and a potential fire hazard. He said the fire department is aware of the vestibule, and the fire inspector will make a report about the safety of the structure before the city moves forward with any other action.

Wilson said in an interview, “I have received several complaints anonymously, and the concerns are that it sets a precedent for all businesses along the railroad. The concerns are a safety hazard and an aesthetic issue for the street. It’s both a visual, but most importantly, a health-and-safety issue.”

Hannah Smith, a server at Heirloom, told the Midway Messenger that the vestibule is a temporary structure added to retain heat during the winter.

“It’s exactly what Grey Goose puts up every winter in front of their restaurant,” Smith said. “It’s so our customers don’t get blasted with cold air through the front door.”

Vandegrift noted that the Grey Goose’s vestibule doesn’t obstruct a public passway, and said he is worried about setting a precedent.

“Can you imagine if every business had one of those things outside?” Vandegrift asked the council. He said he brought up the matter at the meeting so council members could explain it to their constituents if they inquired.

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