• John McGary, Woodford Sun Staff

Council requests rezoning of old middle school

The Versailles City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to request the Versailles-Midway-Woodford County Planning Commission to hold a hearing on rezoning the old Woodford County Middle School from business to residential. At the hearing, Kentucky Bank and the other owners of the 90-year-old building and nearby residents are expected to state their views on the issue. The 1.41-acre property at 101 Maple Street is currently zoned B-1, and some council members and neighbors are concerned over what sort of business would be built if the building is demolished. Mayor Brian Traugott said he'd like to see the building preserved, and said the developer who purchased the building several years had good intentions, but went bankrupt. He said he was leery about making a move that could affect the worth of the property, but added, "We have an obligation to the community to preserve something with cultural and historical significance." Traugott said he'd requested the Planning Commission have its Board of Architectural Review to review the matter before issuing a demolition permit - which as of Tuesday, hadn't been requested - but was turned down. Council Member Ken Kerkhoff said he didn't want to affect the owners' personal finances and that he was concerned about a lawsuit. The city has already tried three times to save the building, and to purchase it, he said. City Attorney Bill Moore said the building, which is presently undergoing asbestos abatement, is already on the city's list of abandoned or blighted properties. Council Member Ann Miller said she spoke with nearby residents who don't want an auto parts store facing Maple Street. After several minutes of discussion, Moore recommended the verbal resolution, and the council voted unanimously to request a rezoning from B-1 (business) to R-3 (medium density residential). The council is not bound by the Planning Commission's recommendation, and could vote for a rezoning, extension of the downtown historical district, or both - or to take no action. The council also voted unanimously for a resolution requesting the Planning Commission review subdivision regulations regarding developer surety deposits and storm water management. The resolution asks that certificates of deposit be increased by 10 percent every two years to reflect costs of improvements and for language clearly indicating the cost of bringing storm water basins up to full function. The move was inspired in part by continuing problems with a retention basin at Cedar Ridge subdivision. Cemetery G.I.S. Kenneth Johns, the Geographic Information System specialist for the Planning Commission, spoke about the ongoing effort to map out local cemeteries. The goal is to provide information on who's buried where through a phone app to interested people or the cemetery sexton. Johns said thus far, 8,626 of the 13,717 graves in the Versailles Cemetery and 1,250 of the 3,441 graves in Rose Crest Cemetery have been mapped. Public Works Director Bart Miller noted that many of the plots are not yet filled, and credited Johns for his work on the program and in mapping water lines, sewer lines, manholes and other areas. Later in the meeting, Council Member Miller said the cemetery mapping could benefit tourism. R.A.W. update Angie Stewart, the president of Raising Awareness Woodford County (R.A.W.), gave the council an update on the non-profit group's effort to combat the local drug problem. Stewart said R.A.W. has been around for a year-and-a-half, and this year has helped 50 people with their problems, from talking to them to providing plane tickets or rides to drug treatment centers. Stewart, a 2005 graduate of Woodford County Drug Court, said she's been in recovery for 12 years, but that the group has "buried two volunteers in the last year." Kerkhoff said the opioid problem has touched every family, and that a nephew of his died of an overdose. When Stewart finished, the council gave her a hand. Batman appointed The council unanimously endorsed the appointment of Bruce Batman to the Woodford County Human Rights Commission for a term from Jan. 1, 2018, to Dec. 31, 2020. Bids The council unanimously approved low bids of: * $7,866.55 from USA Bluebook for a polymer feed system at the wastewater treatment plant. * $3,860 from Powell Farm Construction for two doors at the plant's ammonia room. * $4,500 from Comfort Hearing & Air for a HVAC split system in the water plant's office.

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