Midway council discusses code enforcement
MIDWAY - The city council spent most of a 44-minute meeting Monday discussing a new, independent Code Enforcement Board designed to crack down on nuisances and blighted properties. Second readings and votes on ordinances establishing the board and the tougher sanctions it could impose were on the agenda, but council members had many questions and no action was taken. In response to a query about not paying members of the board, City Attorney Phil Moloney said the council might want to revisit that issue. Council Member Libby Warfield said she could think of only one person who'd be interested in a position on the board, but Mayor Grayson Vandegrift said he disagreed. Council Member Steve Simoff asked whether language defining nuisances gave the board the ability to cite people for extremely unhealthy home interiors. Moloney said it was possible that the code enforcement officer could issue a notice of violation, but Vandegrift said he didn't believe such a thing would ever happen. Several questions concerned trash cans and whether there was a rule against leaving them by the road and whether the nuisance/blighted properties ordinance would say where they couldn't be kept. Vandegrift said city law says that the cans can't be put out before 5 p.m. the day before pickup. Warfield asked about what could be done to cut down on car parts and junk left in public view and wondered whether the city could require an opaque screen fence around such areas. Simoff asked whether all seven definitions of a blighted property had to be met before a notice of violation could be issued. Vandegrift said only one was needed. The council also discussed penalties for violations, among which are an increase in property taxes on violators, from 10.2 cents to 75 cents per $100 of assessed value. Simoff said some of the proposed fines "looked awfully light." The council also discussed campers, boats and box trailers parked on city streets. Vandegrift said the Versailles-Midway-Woodford County Planning Commission requires them to be parked on the side or behind a home, but that he believed the city of Midway never adopted that rule. After the meeting, Vandegrift said a work session on the issue would likely be held in two weeks, giving Moloney time to "tighten up" the ordinances. As the code enforcement ordinance stands now, the mayor would nominate three members, two alternates and a code enforcement officer, with the council voting on each. Weisenberger Mill Bridge Frustrated by delays in the replacement of the Weisenberger Mill Bridge, Vandegrift suggested drafting a resolution asking Woodford Fiscal Court and the state Transportation Cabinet to take action. The one-lane bridge was closed in July of 2016 over safety concerns, and state officials have said it must be replaced with a two-lane bridge. Planning commission The council unanimously endorsed Vandegrift's reappointment of Rich Schein to the Versailles-Midway-Woodford County Planning Commission. Like Vandegrift, Schein has been a vocal critic of the presently shelved Northwest Versailles Mobility Corridor, which would have extended Falling Springs Boulevard to Frankfort Road at or near Midway Road. Vandegrift saluted Schein for "often going against the grain" - a reference to other Planning Commission members' support for the extension. Critics say it would increase traffic on the two-lane Midway Road.