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Letters to the editor

This week the Woodford County Planning and Zoning Commission will meet once again to consider, and possibly vote on, the proposed Edgewood development (next to the new Kroger extending to Paynes Mill Road) and the Backer property preliminary development plan, which would, if approved, mean 540 new homes adjacent to Gleneagles subdivision on Lexington Road. Many people in the county have weighed in with valid concerns over these developments, including increased traffic, higher taxes, the environment impact (especially flooding), and urban sprawl. One question I haven't heard raised (which to me seems very practical) is: "Who is going to live in all these new houses and shop in all these new stores?" I am not a population expert, but if you take a look at the numbers, developments the size of Edgewood and Backer don't seem to make sense for this community - certainly not now. In 1990, Woodford County's population was 19,955 people; in 2015, it was 25,793, an increase of 5,838 people in 25 years. That's the equivalent of adding 234 residents per year. Here are some more numbers: from 1990 to 2000, Woodford's population jumped 16.3 percent (19,955 to 23,208 people); from 2000 to 2010, 7.5 percent to 24,939 people and from 2010 to 2020 (projected) another 7.5 percent to 26,817. Woodford is clearly adding residents, but its growth has been relatively slow and steady, not the sort of population increase that might warrant the quick approval - especially outside the Comprehensive Plan - of a 336-acre mixed-use development that includes several hundred housing units and an additional 540 homes across the street. A conservative average of three people per the approximately 1,000 housing units in these two developments would add 3,000 new residents, more people than the Kentucky State Data Center projects for Woodford County by 2050 (27,680). Many of us push back against the notion that bigger is always better, that sprawl is inevitable and dismiss excuses that infill is unrealistic and too costly or not workable. Take a look at Lexington - there are many impressive infill projects there. City officials talk a lot about attracting millennials (roughly those born between 1978 and 2000) to Woodford County. Will plunking down a bunch of houses and big box chain stores have them flocking here? I doubt it. A charming, but cool and vibrant, downtown might, but not the Targets and Walmarts and Lowe's they can find in Anytown, USA. Certainly, there are challenges: downtown desperately needs revitalization, blighted and abandoned properties need to be tended to and kids - especially teens - need more to do, but these are challenges that can be addressed without first paving over irreplaceable farmland and eroding the county's unique assets. Laura Dake Versailles Improper use Editor, The Sun: Woodford Forward supports the rezoning of 2001 Lexington Road (Backer Property) from the A-1 District to R-1A, R-1B, R-1C (low density single family residential) and R-2 (low density multiple family residential). However, Woodford Forward strongly opposes this preliminary development plan for the following reasons: The subject property is designated for use as a Contemporary Neighborhood District in the 2011 Comprehensive Plan. This preliminary development plan does not comply with the following guidelines of The Contemporary Neighborhood District Land Use: Guideline 3 - Civic uses should be included within larger contemporary neighborhoods in order to provide for close-to-home opportunities for residents, or to provide locations for important public services or facilities that would serve the neighborhood. Guideline 4 - Lands for neighborhood parks and open space should be planned and developed within contemporary neighborhoods. This preliminary development plan does not comply with the subdivision regulations for the 4 percent required open space. The preliminary development plan indicates that the adjoining 37+/- acre county park on Huntertown Road "shall qualify as open space for the property development." The county park is outside of the City of Versailles Urban Service Boundary. According to paragraph 660 of the subdivision regulations, "At a minimum, open space (exclusive of retention/detention basins) shall constitute no less than four (4 percent) percent of the gross area of any subdivision or development site except in the Rural Residential zones. In the 2011 Comprehensive Plan, the Urban Service Boundary Policy 2 states "Woodford County lands not included in a USB Area are classified as part of the Rural Service Area (RSA)." Policy 11 states that "Where the Urban Service Boundary abuts any portion of the Rural Service Area, a 50-foot-wide buffer should be provided and maintained. The permanent buffer should be extensively landscaped and not occupied by any right-of- way or required yard unless and until the Urban Service Boundary is shifted." The proposed road on the preliminary development plan would directly conflict with Policy 11. The county park is zoned Conservation District (CO-1) for a non-urban use and "is intended to promote and protect significant natural features, wooded areas, water courses, existing and potential lake sites, other recreation and conservation resources, wildlife habitat, present and future water supplies, and to minimize erosion of soil, siltation and pollution of streams and lakes." It is clear that the county park, on land outside of the Urban Service Boundary, cannot be used to fulfill the 4 percent open space requirement for land inside the Urban Service Boundary. It is also clear that if the developer complied with Guideline 3 and met the 4 percent open space requirement on the subject property, that it would reduce the number of lots to a more appropriate density. In addition to meeting these requirements, the developer should recognize this property's location on a major gateway into our community and that the development's design should minimize the visual impact along Lexington Road. Billy F. Van Pelt II Versailles Great event Editor, The Sun: As one of more than 2,500 cyclists on the Central Kentucky roads over the glorious Memorial Day weekend, I wanted express my appreciation to the Bluegrass Cycling Club (BCC), its leadership, members, local law enforcement and volunteers for a safe, extremely well supported and executed series of bicycle rides, affectionately known as the Horsey Hundred (this is its 39th year), for folks from all over our great country and Canada, too. The herculean effort the BCC puts in to make this event so spectacular is much appreciated. The logistics of coordinating a weekend of registrations, multiple rides, routes, guests, lodging, food, water, volunteers, law enforcement, entertainment, vendors and many things we probably do not see are truly humbling in their complexity that they pull off year after year with seeming ease. And thank God this weekend was a safe one, thanks to the extra efforts of many dedicated law enforcement and volunteers. The Bluegrass was showcased at its finest and much appreciated by folks from around our country who came here just to ride their bicycles and marvel at this great "state park" we get to call home. Joe Graviss Versailles

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