Council moves forward on blighted/abandoned properties
The Midway City Council had first readings Monday for ordinances establishing a long-anticipated Code Enforcement Board and penalties for the owners of blighted or abandoned properties. Ordinance 2019-14 states that the mayor will nominate the three board members, who are subject to confirmation by the city council. One will serve for a year, one for two years, and another for three years. Subsequent appointments will serve three-year terms, but not more than two consecutively. Members will be paid $25 per meeting, pick their own chair and meet at least quarterly. The code enforcement officers can issue citations, which must be responded to within 10 days. If the alleged violator doesn’t show up for a hearing, the order would be considered final. Civil fines for first offenses range from $25 for animals to $100 for an unsafe and unfit structure, and the city would be able to put a lien on properties in violation and assess fees for the costs incurred, including abatement. Ordinance 2019-15 defines a variety of nuisances ranging from weeds, grass and rubbish to dead animals. Both ordinances could receive a second reading and vote at the council’s first meeting of 2020. Neighborhood associations Several members of local neighborhood associations briefed the council on the formation of those groups in Midway, Versailles and Woodford County to ask for help in establishing them in Midway. Among the needs cited were assistance drawing preliminary boundaries, preliminary representatives for each association, and a timeline for establishing them. Mike Adams, the president of the Council of Neighborhood Associations, said the groups are “micro-governments” that can make Woodford County a better place to live. The council was literally split on the issue, with one side of the table (Council Members Kaye Nita Gallagher, Logan Nance and Bruce Southworth) saying the council should stay out of the matter and the other side (Council Members John Holloway, Stacy Thurman and Sara Hicks) supporting it. Nance said he wasn’t in favor of anything creating tribalism. Southworth said he agreed completely. Gallagher said she was concerned about creating a type of segregation. Thurman said she supported the concept, and that creating boundaries wouldn’t keep people apart. Hicks spoke of a neighborhood association near the University of Kentucky in the 1980s she was a member of that helped preserve the bungalow-style homes there. Holloway said he’d been a member of the same group, and that people banded together to pick up trash and plant flowers. Mayor Grayson Vandegrift suggested letting constituents watch the video of the meeting, hear what they had to say and revisit the matter. Weisenberger Mill Bridge open for Christmas? At the end of the meeting, Vandegrift said that he’d spoken with a Scott County magistrate whose district includes the Weisenberger Mill Bridge who said state Transportation Cabinet officials told him the new bridge should be open by Christmas Day. A spokesperson for the Transportation Cabinet told the Sun it’s “probable” that the bridge will open prior to Christmas day. Encroachment permit A representative of White Dog Trading, LLC, which aims to build a bourbon barrel warehouse at Midway Station, asked the council for an encroachment permit allowing the company to build an entrance road to the warehouse and office. The road would be 24 feet wide and paved. The council unanimously approved the request. Frozen Rails run The council unanimously approved an event permit for the Frozen Rails 5K and 10K Run/Walk, which will take place on New Year’s Day beginning at 2 p.m. Nance joked that he objected to the start time because other area races typically begin in the early morning hours, giving him an excuse to not participate. According to the event permit, 300 to 400 runners and two bicyclists will take part. Impacted roads will include Bruen and Turner streets and Spring Station Road. A DJ will play music at a “moderate level,” according to the application. The event raises money for the Midway Ministerial Association.