Vandegrift: no homes at Midway Station
MIDWAY - Discussion of Midway Station dominated Monday's meeting of the city council. Mayor Grayson Vandegrift told council members and the public that developer Dennis Anderson had told him he would not build homes at Midway Station. "He has decided that it's not financially feasible for him," Vandegrift said. "I think we sort of had inklings that this was coming in some senses. I think once we had the success in the industrial zone . it made residential (development) much less likely, and one could reasonably argue that (Midway Station) was never a good place to build homes to begin with - being next to an interstate and under the biggest power lines I've ever seen." Vandegrift said Anderson made an informal request to rezone about 103 acres in the southeast portion of Midway Station from residential to industrial. Woodford Economic Development Authority (EDA) Chairman John Soper said over the years, Anderson spent more than $600,000 to study the feasibility of building homes there, and that Anderson told him he might still build homes in the Midway area. "What I would anticipate happening is that he'll get a (rezoning) request to us and the EDA will use his attorney to bring forth a request. He'll do it as an applicant and we'll (the EDA) agree to it as a landowner ." Soper said. Anderson pays interest on the EDA's debt at Midway Station in return for an option to purchase property there, and Soper said Anderson has the right to walk away from the option at any time. "I don't think he's going to do that. I think that (Midway Station) is still a profitable development for him, but I wouldn't want to get into a situation that the EDA, if he was to walk away a year, five years from now, that the EDA is left with a partial or somewhat residential (development), because that's not our business ." Soper said. More jobs? Vandegrift introduced a first reading of an intent to annex 33.485 acres of land adjacent to Midway Station by saying some of the land would be used by Lakeshore Learning - and the rest by an unnamed supplier the company hopes to bring with it. Lakeshore Learning has pledged to hire 262 full-time workers there in return for a variety of tax breaks and other incentives. "It's not a done deal, but I think it's something they would like to get done ." Soper said. Vandegrift said the owner of the land, Homer Michael Freeny Jr., agreed to the annexation. Sidewalks update Vandegrift said three owners of a total of five properties with sidewalks in bad repair have agreed to fix the sidewalks and will take part in the city's cost-sharing plan. Anderson said a "not-so sunset clause" requires the work to be done by May. Animal cruelty measure The council held a first reading of an ordinance aimed at protecting animals. The measure reads, "The means used in removing or evicting any animal, wildlife or pests from or off a property . shall not result in the contemporaneous harming or death of a domestic animal or household pet." The ordinance would not apply to governmental animal control agencies and authorities. At the beginning of the meeting, the owner of a cat that died after getting caught in a trap outside a church's crawl space asked the council for a stronger law. Cemetery home The council voted unanimously (council members Libby Warfield and Dan Roller were absent) to declare the former caretaker's home at Midway Cemetery surplus and to authorize its sale. Council member Sara Hicks asked that the sale requirements include a time frame for removing the building. Appointments The council voted unanimously in favor of: . "Trail town" committee appointments of Randy Thomas, Pam Thomas, Helen Rentch, Roller and Sara Hicks. Hicks recused herself from the vote. . The appointment of Joanna Smith to the city's Park Board. . Event permits for the Jan. 1 Racerise 5-K and the 2017 Iron Horse Half Marathon.