• By Billy F. Van Pelt II

Guest opinion: Stick with the plan

Two and a half years ago, Woodford Forward was formed as a grassroots group of citizens and business owners that advocate for innovative policies that promote the highest and best use of urban land and the agricultural use of productive farmland throughout Woodford County. By working with government officials and the community, Woodford Forward provides land use advocacy for innovative development and redevelopment of our urban areas; adequate infrastructure for citizens and businesses; and the agricultural use of productive farmland throughout Woodford County. Through these efforts, we will promote the link between quality of life and economic development. Neither Woodford Forward nor its directors are plaintiffs in either of the lawsuits regarding the Edgewood property. Woodford Forward opposed the proposed Edgewood development, but supported the rezoning of the 70-plus acres of the Edgewood Farm that is within the Versailles Urban Service Boundary for professional office uses, which would include a location for a new hospital; and other urban uses that are allowed by the zoning ordinance and the Comprehensive Plan. I served as Woodford Forward’s representative on the Citizens Advisory Committee for the Northwest Versailles Mobility Corridor that was selected by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. Woodford Forward opposed the project based on a number of facts, many of which have been published by the editorial board of the Lexington Herald-Leader. In addition, the vast majority of Woodford County citizens who have spoken on the record during public hearings and had their comments entered into the public record, all opposed the bypass. It is also important to note that three new manufacturing facilities are moving to Woodford County and another manufacturing facility is expanding, which will create 700 full-time jobs. Consistently, Woodford County has the lowest unemployment in Kentucky, and now has massive new job creation, all of which has been achieved without the proposed Versailles northwest bypass or a material expansion of either the Versailles or Midway Urban Service Boundaries. Woodford Forward has supported numerous positive projects throughout our community. These projects include: * The limited adjustments of the Versailles Urban Service Boundary to accommodate the More Than a Bakery facility. * The rezoning of 183 acres of land within the Versailles Urban Service Boundary for residential development. * The rezoning and development of 63-plus acres of land within the Versailles Urban Service Boundary for 83 single-‐family homes, 28 townhouses and 144 apartments. * Community Assistance from the National Park Service for the Bluegrass Bike Hike Horseback Water Trails Alliance Phase II. Woodford Forward is encouraged by the continual increase in the level of citizen engagement in Woodford County land use issues during the last two years. We encourage all citizens to become involved in the planning process, to study our Comprehensive Plan, and to become fully informed on the issues. Woodford Forward supports the adopted Versailles-Midway-Woodford County Comprehensive Plan as our guiding document for land use decisions for it charts our course for the future. The Comprehensive Plan ensures that Woodford County retains its brand identity, sense of place for our residents and makes it a destination for tourists from around the world. Billy F. Van Pelt II is CEO of Woodford Forward.

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