City to enforce cemetery rules
MIDWAY - The city council Monday night unanimously agreed to enforce existing rules at the Midway Cemetery that Mayor Grayson Vandegrift said had been set aside for some people in previous years. "As you all know ... what has come up is that we are enforcing the rules as they are written. However, people before this administration received special variances, I guess, to do things that were not within the rules," Vandegrift said. Council members said problems at the cemetery include privately planted bushes that could encroach on other grave sites, as well as benches, balloons, toys and solar lights left there. Council Member Libby Warfield said the Cemetery, City and Blighted Property Committee, which she chairs, last met March 10, and members agreed not to change any of the existing rules. "Her committee recommendation is that we continue to enforce the rules as they are, but we're going to retroactively enforce those rules upon those who have been given special treatment," Vandegrift said. Later, a motion to that effect passed unanimously. Vandegrift said with the "busy season" approaching, cemetery workers will have to go through the 2,000-plus grave cemetery and identify each violation. A city clerk would then need to find the addresses of the violators, which will be no easy task, he said. Vandegrift said a "nicely worded letter" will be sent to people who'd left unauthorized materials there. Council Member Sara Hicks said she believed there weren't more than 20 violations. Members unofficially agreed that 30 days' notice would be sufficient to allow unauthorized items to be removed. Presently, they're kept in a shed at the cemetery. Neighborhood groups Joyce Evans and Judy Offutt spoke to the council about the prospect of organizing neighborhood associations around Midway. Evans said she believed there were seven "natural boundaries" around the town, and noted the Northridge Subdivision already had its own neighborhood group. Council Member John McDaniel said he didn't want to see cliques stem from the effort, and suggested 90-minute town hall meetings every month or two months. Offutt said the goal was to increase Midway's sense of community and the idea of neighbors looking after neighbors. She said in the last two weeks, three people had knocked on her door, asking for money. Vandegrift asked members of the council's Events, Tourism and Outreach committee to meet with people interested in forming neighborhood associations, and suggested a point person be named for each group. Those people, or a representative, could then meet with the council. Hazard mitigation Woodford Emergency Management Director Drew Chandler briefed the council on a 600-page regional hazard mitigation "living document" facilitated by area development districts. The process lasted 16 months and involved several meetings attended by Vandegrift, who called them "very impressive and incredibly thorough." "We talked about the different hazards to our communities and we identified the risks and vulnerabilities and the projects that would help mitigate those risks," Chandler said. The document was then sent to the state to make sure its requirements are met, then to the Federal Emergency Management Authority (FEMA), then returned to city and county governments for formal adoption. The council unanimously passed a resolution accepting the plan, which will be reviewed by the Versailles City Council and Woodford Fiscal Court in the next week. Chandler said most of the document deals with natural disasters, such as snow and ice storms, flooding, tornadoes and hail (which Chandler said kills more people each year than tornadoes).