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Thursday, June 17, 2021

County Planning Commission scratches hearing on Northside Drive rezoning; will be rescheduled later

The Planning Commission met via Zoom, with an audience that included several Midway residents.

The Versailles-Midway-Woodford County Planning Commission voted without opposition this morning to postpone the hearing set for 6:30 p.m. today at Northside Elementary School on the request to rezone property on Northside Drive for a high-density housing development. A new date will be set later.

In an emergency meeting, the commission acted on the request of developer Mike Bradley of Northside Homes LLC, after being told by the attorney for the Northridge Estates Homeowners Association that letters giving formal notice of the hearing were not sent out 14 days in advance, as required by law.

The letter was dated June 4. Robert Stilz, attorney for Northside Homes, said counting that day would make 14 days, but he could not "immediately find case law that said we were in compliance," so they asked for a postponement. Bradley told the Messenger on Wednesday that he sought the delay to head off a possible legal challenge.

Preston Worley, attorney for the commission, said arguments could be made both ways, and "If this is in fact a procedural default here, then it makes having the public hearing and the proceedings not worth the effort, knowing that they could be appealed for such a technical violation."

Rich Schein, Midway's member on the commission, supported a delay. "We know, time after time, that we get frustrated as a planning commission because the general public doesn't understand the exact details of the sometimes arcane rules of the Planning Commission, and it seems to me that a little bit of public relations goes a long way," he said. "If there's any doubt whatsoever, I would not want to sit at our desk in terms of trying to rush into something. It's no skin off our nose, really, other than to reschedule a meeting," which will be done by the commission staff.

Commissioner Barry Drury said postponing a hearing less than 12 hours before it was to be held "seems like an inconvenience to everybody involved." Earlier, Worley said the commission could convene and quickly adjourn the hearing, but that "would have caused great inconvenience" for the public, the applicant and the commission.

Worley said as the 13-minute Zoom meeting ended, "Once the applicant and the commission staff and everybody are able to get a date and talk with the attorneys that are going to be representing objectors, we'll come up with a date that works best and there will be a new notice sent out for that."

Bradley wants to build 68 "town homes," mainly in groups of four connected by breezeways, on eight acres. That would require rezoning from R-1 residential to R-3 residential. The proposal has drawn much opposition. The planning commission will only recommend whether or not to rezone the property; the Midway City Council will make the decision.

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