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Letters to the editor

New hospital location Editor, The Sun: The community is being told that the 30 acres located on the far end of the Edgewood Farm, at the corner of Paynes Mill Road and Lexington Road, is the only piece of land available for a new hospital. That statement is simply not true. There are two other tracts of land that could easily accommodate such a need. The first tract is 72 acres that is the part of the Edgewood Farm and is already located in the Versailles urban service boundary (USB). It sits on Lexington Road next to the new Kroger. This property could easily accommodate a new hospital, but obviously it is not as profitable a proposition for the Edgewood landowners as developing the total 400-plus acres. The second piece of land is the Sellers property on the corner of Falling Springs Boulevard and Troy Pike. This property was brought into the USB in 2011 for the purpose of further development, and shortly thereafter was zoned (with no protest from the community) so that it could be used for future medical facilities, if desired. The Sellers property easily meets the criteria required for a new hospital: it is in the USB, is properly zoned, has a motivated seller, offers great visibility and is readily accessible to the community. Why is it we are being lead to believe that no other land exists to accommodate a new hospital, when it does? Why aren't other existing properties being considered as a possible site for a new hospital? Building a new hospital on the far corner of the Edgewood Farm property is a big win for the landowner and their developer, but is it the only choice for the community or Life Point Hospitals? The answer is no. The "promise" of a new hospital is the carrot being dangled in front of the public as an excuse to develop 337 acres of extremely valuable and sensitive rural land. After all, I was told, "How could anyone come out against a new hospital?" Versailles needs to use the land it already has designated for growth before it sprawls any further. I hope the P&Z committee members and the Versailles City Council see this proposition for what it is and vote "no" to the annexation and zone changes on one of Woodford County's most valuable assets, which is its beautiful open space and agricultural land. With a little bit of well-thought-out planning and zoning, we can have our hospital and protect our open spaces, too. Karen Isberg Versailles Editor, the Sun: I believe in growth. I believe in planned growth. And, I believe that Woodford County is a very special place where our high quality of life is important to us all. I also believe in the Comprehensive Plan process. I am aware of the many options available to us to reach our goals for growth in ways that benefit our way of life. One of those options is where a new hospital ought to be built. I have watched and listened to the arguments for and against a proposal to locate a new hospital at the corner of Paynes Mill Road and Lexington Road. The arguments in favor of a new hospital are persuasive, I certainly want the best medical facilities possible for all Woodford Countians. What, then, are our options for its location? It needs to help the most people, in the shortest amount of time, and have ready access to the major hospitals in Lexington. Why not place it nearest the residential population center of Versailles, the locus of our schools and recreation area, and our neighbors in Anderson and Mercer counties - on the Sellers property at Troy Pike and Blue Grass Parkway? This property has several advantages besides its central location to our medical needs. For starters, it lacks the legal issues surrounding the newly proposed location at Edgewood Farm. Its selection would be far less divisive. It is already inside the Urban Services Boundary, it is already appropriately zoned, it has previously been approved as a site for a new hospital by the Comprehensive Plan, and it is available right now. Why would we want to abandon a well thought out plan such as this? Digging around for true facts, here are some to consider. A preliminary development plan was filed in April of 2012 on the Sellers property and a new hospital was identified on this plan. This was only four years ago. This property is zoned as highway interchange service business, B-5. The property is located inside of the Versailles Urban Service Boundary at the Blue Grass Parkway interchange. From an access and visibility standpoint, this is an ideal location for a new hospital. I am certain that the Planning Commission has all of our best interests at heart, so I am asking it to consider doing the following: First, use the land we have already selected and approved for future growth and our future medical needs. Stay the course. Use the Sellers property first for a new hospital. Secondly, avoid annexing, rezoning and expanding the Urban Service Boundary on Edgewood Farm. Let's enjoy smart growth and stick to our Comprehensive Plan. Whitney Dunlap III Versailles Editor, The Sun: As I sat in the P&Z hearing on the Edgewood property last week, I heard numerous comments about the great need for a new hospital facility in Woodford County. And, although 70 acres of the Edgewood property are within the Urban Service Boundary and already zoned for professional offices, there is a request that the full 300-plus acres be re-zoned. Before we again seek to expand the USB, why would we not first consider land that is available and properly zoned, with high visibility for a hospital that would benefit all of Woodford County? I believe that the original development plan submitted for the property at the corner of the Blue Grass Parkway and Troy Pike included a hospital and medical offices. The vision, as it was originally pitched, was that such a facility could serve as a "gateway" to Versailles and "show people we are open for business." Perhaps it's time to revisit that plan. Maegan F. Nicholson Versailles Voting for Barr Editor, The Sun: Congressman Andy Barr continues to impress. Not only is he one of the nicest fellows you'd ever want to meet, but he's been working very hard both in Washington and here at home. I've seen him at event after event, always making time to listen to the folks. He was even along the route of the St Patrick's Day Parade in Lexington! Andy is really one of us. With all the problems in our nation's capital, we must look at why this country has gotten to this point. We have some folks there who want to rule as if they have unlimited power, which is completely against the founding of this country. We must be mindful they will never stop of their own accord, so we need to elect folks like Andy Barr, who reflect the real values of Kentucky and America. By having strong representation in the U.S. House, we can check many of the power grabs by those people. Together, we need to make sure that all of our kids have the best possible future. Please join me in voting for Andy Barr. Bill Marshall Midway

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