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Land use plan will get boost, completion by outside expert

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By Thomas Barr

 SHEPHERDSVILLE - Bullitt County Joint Planning Commission member Thomas B. Givhan was not without friends on Tuesday morning as he sought help for a long-time problem.

After years of talk, work, more talk and more work, the Bullitt County Joint Planning Commission is ready to finish the update of the comprehensive land-use plan.

But it will utilize the expertise of an engineering firm to complete the work in 2013.

The planning commission unanimously recommended a proposal from Kriss Lowry and Associates of Corinth, Ky., to complete the project.

Givhan was presented the task for taking that recommendation and asking for funding from Bullitt Fiscal Court.

While not the low bid, planners said they were very impressed by the presentation. In fact, commissioners said they were pleased with all three of the finalists.

The bid of $37,375 was much lower than the highest of six bids at $149,000.

Givhan was supported by a large crowd as members of the Chamber of Commerce, the Bullitt County strategic plan committee, economic development officials and members of the community.

“There is broad-based support for this,” said Givhan.

Bill Duffy, who leads the Concerned Families of Bullitt County, said his group has been attending and participating in many of the meetings prior to the selection of the winning bidder.

A top priority of that group, which was formed after zoning concerns arose in the Heritage Hill community, has been to see that an updated comprehensive land-use plan be adopted.

He strongly urged fiscal court to fund the project.

State Rep. Linda Belcher, who co-chaired the strategic planning committee with Lou Ann Moore of the Chamber of Commerce, said one of the priorities of that group was to also see a new comprehensive plan.

To move the county forward, Belcher said there needs to be an organized plan.

County attorney Monica Robinson said the plan has needed to be updated for years. She complimented Tammy Baker, an assistant county attorney who works with the planning commission, for her hard work in helping to move the process forward.

Lowry said she has worked in many similar communities to develop new plans. She said a major part of her work will be to get public input on how the people feel the community should develop and grow.

An updated plan is vital when officials are making zoning decisions, said Lowry.

Givhan said he called several counties where Lowry’s firm had worked. All gave good marks and said they would hire the firm again if the need arose.

Board member John Miller said that Lowry gave the best presentation and he was pleased with Givhan’s results off his research.

The current comprehensive plan has not been redone since 1997. Under the requirements of the law, the document must be reviewed every five years. It can be revised or affirmed in its present form. 

The plan, which is a key component in any rezoning decision, has become a point of criticism over the years due to its age without revisions. A part of the plan is a map which generally shows zoning classification and how land should be used.

The commission has worked for over a decade to get the comprehensive plan and its regulations updated. It has worked with an engineering firm and then tried to accomplishment the revisions in-house. The commission has gotten all but one chapter completed.

The winning bidder would be responsible for finishing the project.

Without any hesitation, the court members unanimously approved the appropriation of $37,375 to contract for the work.