Council holds off on U-Haul vote
A request by Councilmember Ken Kerkhoff to table a vote on a proposed text amendment that would allow U-Haul to offer indoor storage in the old Kmart building was granted at Tuesday’s Versailles City Council meeting. Mayor Brian Traugott said the matter would be put on the agenda for the council’s March 3 meeting. After the meeting, Kerkhoff told the Sun that U-Haul officials “had some thoughts” different than those previously discussed and want a chance to share them before the council votes. “It involves the individual (Lexington developer Steve Reach) that was interested in buying the (old) Kroger building. He has some thoughts (and) U-Haul has some thoughts,” Kerkhoff said. Last year, Traugott said he’d support a zone change that would allow indoor storage if U-Haul could find a suitable tenant for the old Kroger building. Reach took part in a special council meeting Feb. 6 that was held at the Versailles Brewing Company, which is co-owned by Councilmember Gary Jones. The Lexington Road Plaza is in a B-4 district (highway business) and the Board of Adjustment has ruled that indoor storage is not an allowed use in B-4 districts. U-Haul’s critics – including Dee and Joe Gay, who own an indoor storage business on Thomas Lane – have said company officials shouldn’t have assumed they could change the zoning laws after purchasing the shopping center. At the Feb. 6 meeting, Reach said repeatedly that retail tenants want an anchor. U-Haul bought the property in 2017. Big Spring Park Jon Gay, the chair of the Versailles-Woodford County Parks and Recreation Board, briefed the council on the board’s request to pay architects Matthew Myers and William Esarey $15,000 to to produce a plan to revitalize Big Spring Park. Under the interlocal agreement with the county, the city would pay $6,750 and the county, $8,250. A motion to pay the city’s share passed unanimously, but Traugott said the money was already in the budget for the work and called it a “nice, symbolic vote.” Last year, Myers was paid $5,000 by the city to produce plans for the Precinct Project, which would use the soon-to-be-abandoned Versailles Police Department station as part of a downtown entertainment space that would include a pavilion. Shelter The council unanimously approved a resolution authorizing a grant application to the Federal Emergency Management Agency to build a “multi-use community safe room structure” at 930 Clifton Road. The city is partnering with First Baptist Church and the Bluegrass Area Development on the project, which would use federal funds to construct a building that could hold more than 1,600 people and withstand winds of up to 250 mph. Lillie Cox The council approved an amended agreement with Lillie Cox to pay the $300 attorney bill she incurred after learning the city had mistakenly double-sold grave sites in Rose Crest Cemetery in January 2014. Under a deal recently reached with the city, the city will refund Cox the money she paid for one of those graves and, after her death, move the casket of her late husband Benny Cox to a site where they can be buried next to each other. The city will also waive charges for her burial and provide tents for a service for both of them. Wayfinding The council unanimously approved a request for proposal for a concept design for a wayfinding signage system, pending review by City Attorney Bill Moore. The project is designed to create trailblazing directional signs for the four major entrances into the city, like those on the outskirts of Lexington, Kerkhoff said. Proposals in hardcopy must be received by March 27, and no more than three firms will be chosen to meet with the council’s Wayfinding Committee to present proposals. Code Enforcement Officer For the third time, the council voted on a job description for the recently-created code enforcement officer position. Traugott said state retirement officials had rejected a previous description of “seasonal” and said the job would now be called “part-time,” with fewer than 1,200 hours a year and no involvement in the retirement system. Flower watering The council unanimously approved a low bid of $12,000 by Bi-Water Farm of Georgetown to water the flowers in the downtown hanging baskets this year. Dake noted that the company’s fee last year was $10,000. After someone joked that Traugott could water the flowers himself, Dake said, “We’ll call it a seasonal position.” Sturgill Simpson Traugott’s proposal to give Big Sink Pike the honorary title of “Sturgill Simpson Way” to honor the country music star and 1996 Woodford County High School graduate was unanimously approved. Traugott noted that Simpson grew up in Stonegate subdivision.