Work continues on Comp Plan update
A committee working on an update of the county's land-use plan, and its goals and objectives, voiced support to include language promoting and encouraging a northern bypass, and affordable homes for middle income residents. Both possible additions to the Comprehensive Plan's goals and objectives were suggested by members of the local Planning Commission, J.D. Wolf and Chad Wells. In order to discourage large tractor-trailers from driving on downtown Versailles streets, commission Chair Wolf said, "We need a bypass." Funding for a northern bypass from Falling Springs Boulevard (Ky. 2213) to U.S. 60 at/or near Midway Road (U.S. 62) was recently removed from the state's six-year road plan. With the support of committee members, Wolf's request to include language to promote and encourage a northwest corridor extension as an objective in an updated land-use plan advances to the full Planning Commission, which must conduct a public hearing before adopting goals and objectives for an updated Comprehensive Plan. Meanwhile, Wells, who chairs the Comp Plan subcommittee, cited a lack of housing for middle income families who want to purchase a larger home costing $200,000 to $220,000. So he was supportive of adding stronger language to promote and encourage housing types in that price range. While understanding the need for starter homes in that price range is an issue, Commissioner Patty Perry said she does not know what the Planning Commission can do about high land costs in Woodford County, which result in higher home prices. Currently, within the Versailles urban services boundary, Planning Director Pattie Wilson said there are approximately 130 single-family lots where someone can get a building permit, which she described as "probably the lowest inventory we've had in the 20 years I've been here." Other land has been zoned for residential development, but no infrastructure has been constructed in those proposed neighborhoods, Wilson said. She said the number of platted/recorded lots for single-family homes has been decreasing since 2008, with the only substantial construction of single-family homes happening in an expansion of the Rose Ridge subdivision on Old Dry Ridge Road. Those 50 new homes will likely cost around $300,000. Using comments in a survey and those made during a public hearing in February as a basis for change, a subcommittee of the Versailles-Midway-Woodford County Planning and Zoning Commission agreed to make several other additions and amendments to the Comprehensive Plan's current goals and objectives. Among the additions: plan housing for the rising senior and millennial populations in Woodford County, encourage development of retail and dining in commercial centers, and the reuse/redevelopment of declining industrial areas. Those and other additions to the goals and objectives, as suggested by Wilson in a draft document for discussion, were supported by Comp Plan committee members during their work session on June 9. "I don't want to overhaul the whole thing," said Wells. "I think just some minor tweaks, if you will, are warranted." When the work session began on June 9, Wells spoke to other committee members about letters received from three citizens groups: nine Midway residents, Citizens for Sustainable Community Growth, and Woodford Forward. Each of those letters urged the Comp Plan committee to conduct an assessment of current landowners inside the urban service boundaries of Versailles and Midway to evaluate their intentions regarding future development of their properties. "I don't know if property owners that are in the urban service boundary have to tell us what their intentions are as far as development," said Wells. "That's something they might want to hold close to their chest, and I wouldn't blame them in some instances."