• Bob Vlach, Woodford Sun Staff

Neighbors voice concerns about urban sprawl

Concerns about traffic and urban sprawl were raised by the neighbors of a proposed rural residential subdivision on Troy Pike at Carpenter Pike during a public hearing last Thursday, April 12.

Property owner Larry Donnell wants to rezone 120.777 acres in the A-1 (agriculture) district in order to create 13 single-family rural residential lots on 23.231 acres. A remaining residential building right will be set aside for a residence on 97.546 acres of residual farmland, according to the request presented to the Versailles-Midway-Woodford County Planning and Zoning Commission.

“We’re doing what we’re allowed to do (under the county’s zoning ordinance),” said Tim Thompson, property surveyor for the rural residential development.

While some neighbors recognized that single-family housing cluster developments are permitted in rural areas, they and others had concerns about another residential neighborhood along Carpenter Pike. Its rural character will diminish and traffic problems will get worse if more lots are allowed there, they argued.

“I am against it – of course,” said Troy Pike resident Reva Grantham, “and it’s because of the traffic.” She cited cars traveling “way too fast” and a dangerous Carpenter Pike – Troy Pike intersection as concerns.

While not a resident of either road, county resident Deb Pekny’s words about preserving the beauty, quiet and uniqueness of Woodford County were met with applause.

“We move to the country because we wanted the space … We’re not congested. We have room to breathe,” said Pekny.

“Throwing these kinds of (housing clusters) in the middle of agricultural properties,” she added, “…I think you’re setting everyone up for a lot of hard feelings and a lot of discontent.”

The commission unanimously agreed to table action on the zone change request until its May meeting. Commissioner Jim Boggs asked for the delay because he said it’s important to listen to what neighboring property owners say during a hearing.

This was the first rural residential zone change request to come before the commission in 10 years, Planning Director Pattie Wilson said.

She said the proposed 13 rural residential lots on 23.231 acres would share one entrance on Carpenter Pike.

Wilson pointed out that there are four rural residential neighborhoods within one mile of this area, and building permits could be issued on 30 vacant rural residential lots in Woodford County.

“The applicant has failed to offer any evidence that there is a need for this rezoning at this time,” said Hank Graddy, an attorney for neighboring property owners.

He said the proposed rural residential lots do not meet the housing needs for affordable housing, millennials or senior citizens as “spelled out” in the Comprehensive Plan.

“As Pattie (Wilson) acknowledged,” said Graddy, “there’s not been one of these (rural residential) applications for 10 years, which is an indicator in itself that this is not a very needed or desirable land use.”

He described the proposed rural residential neighborhood as “making the surplus worse.”

Prior to beginning his presentation, Graddy asked for more than five minutes to speak on the proposed zone change, but was denied that request by commission Chair Chad Wells.

He based his decision on not wanting to go against commission policy that limits public comment to five minutes, which Graddy argued denied “his clients fair process.”

Frontier Nursing

The commission approved a development plan for Frontier Nursing University, which shows improvements to existing buildings and parking lot facilities on the property at 2050 Lexington Road. Frontier Nursing University will locate its operations to this campus, formerly occupied by the United Methodist Home for Children.

Apartments

The commission approved an amended final record plat for a 156-unit apartment complex at 224 Cheney Road in the Wooldridge Gardens residential neighborhood along Falling Springs Boulevard. The approval was contingent upon the City of Versailles finalizing water and sewer line inspections.

Rich Schein was the lone member of the commission who was not present for last Thursday’s meeting.

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