Agencies looking for changes before adoption of land-use plan

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By Thomas Barr

 SHEPHERDSVILLE - Two agencies with a keen interest in the passage of a new county comprehensive land-use map will be sure to make their views known prior to the final adoption.

Kriss Lowry & Associates has been contracted to update the county’s comprehensive land-use plan.

On Thursday, Dec. 12, Lowry is expected to bring a final draft version to the Bullitt County Joint Planning Commission at its 7 p.m. meeting.

There must still be a public hearing held on the plan before anything can be adopted.

Before that final adoption is done, members of the planning commission, as well as the Bullitt County Economic Development Authority, voiced concerns over changes they would like to see.

The biggest concern did not deal with the text portion of the rework. Instead, it was “the map.”

Attorney Scott Wantland, who is also a member of the Bullitt County EDA, told commissioners during their November meeting that it is “the map” which often makes rezoning requests more difficult.

Depending upon the request and the color of the area on the land-use map, Wantland said the difficulty of a rezoning can increase quickly.

He urged the county planners look at doing something on the map to protect the Bourbon Trail along Highway 245, as well as the Floyds Fork area, which is seeing major improvements in Jefferson County.

Wantland also urged the EDA to reach out to developers to see if they would like to make a united stand.

Acknowledging that Lowrey has done a tremendous amount of work, Wantland even said that the county might think about spending a little more to make sure the consultant had the time to make any changes requested.

“Millions of dollars are at stake,” Wantland said of the plan. “I’d like to get it done right.”

Planning commissioner Thomas Givhan said that his initial concern was that there was little or no new property set aside as industrial.

The land-use plan does not rezone any property. It only gives a vision on how planners believe the county should develop over the next five years.

If the plan is approved as was presented in November, Givhan said that basically the county planners are saying that agriculture should be the major use in the future.

“Does Bullitt County want industry?” Givhan ask the planning commissioners. “If we want it, where should it go?”

His idea would be to have 2,000 acres set aside for industrial development.

While not proposing it be done, Givhan pointed to an area like Belmont. He said there is a lot of rural property and it is bordered by Fort Knox, Interstate 65 and the old county landfill.

If not there, Givhan asked where.

He felt the health department should be a part of the comprehensive plan discussions, as well as the Bullitt County Sanitation District.

If there were industrial areas on the map, Givhan said it might avoid some of the “blood letting” which is common during the rezoning process.

Planning commission chairman Daryl Lee said he spoke with Lowry and she heard suggestions during the recent public hearing.

He wasn’t sure that the changes would be made on the map for the Dec. 12 meeting but he said the planning commission would have input and would ultimately make the final call.

Lee added that there was no reason to rush. Instead, he said the land-use plan should be right when it is presented for approval.

Planning commissioner Larry Watkins cautioned members and said that they should wait to see what is presented by Lowry and then make its suggestions.

EDA executive director John Snider said that there are more inquiries about manufacturing in the region. Bullitt County is getting some looks but property will be needed to make it possible.

The plan is to be discussed by the Bullitt County Joint Planning Commission on Thursday, Dec. 12, at 7 p.m. at the courthouse annex. The public is invited.