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Letter to the editor - Don’t sacrifice farms

Editor, The Sun: I read with interest the 23-inch long article (Feb. 25) by John Soper, chairman of the Woodford County Economic Development Authority and consultant for the City of Versailles. I was surprised that the chairman of a Woodford County entity made no mention of the tremendous value of our Woodford County farmland. Instead, he touted the benefits gained by encroaching into valuable farmland when extending the Urban Services Boundary. This encroachment would use 405 acres of farmland for residential, commercial, “big box” and industrial development, which would destroy this farmland forever – and also open the door for further taking of more farmland for development. What about the established farming operations in the area? How will traffic, noise pollution and light pollution affect these operations? You cannot successfully farm next to such a development. Mr. Soper also foresees this area as “the most obvious location for industrial growth.” A lot of us see this area for what it has always been – a gracious and viable gateway into our unique and prosperous community with open and economically productive farmland, which also requires fewer services. The scenic vistas are an added benefit. Mayor Traugott, in his push to extend our Urban Services Boundary into farmland in order to accommodate this development, assured us “… it wouldn’t occur overnight.” I guess that, much like cutting off a dog’s tail a little at a time, it doesn’t matter if you cut a little at a time or all at once, you still end up with a cut tail. His further assumption that we are not at risk of becoming another Jessamine County is rather naïve – Jessamine County got where they are “a little at a time” – much like the dog’s tail. His statement was that “… when opportunity knocks, you don’t say ‘come back next year,’ because they won’t. They’ll probably go next door and knock.” And I surmise that was probably what contributed to Jessamine County’s problem growth – our rejected “opportunities” now lining their highways. The economy of Woodford County appears to be in fairly good shape. We have consistently had the lowest unemployment rate and the highest per-capita income in the state. This in part is due to a good balance between growth residentially, agriculturally, and industrially – which equates to “equality” in our zoning. Bigger is not always better. Maryann McCauley Versailles

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