GLASGOW – To say that attendance was sparse at the fourth and final “meeting” to gather input on proposed land-use maps for the 2019 Comprehensive Plan for Barren County would be inflating it.
Aside from Kevin Myatt, planning director, and Brian McKeever, planning administrator, for the Joint City-County Planning Commission of Barren County, which produces the plan, the only person besides a member of the media at Thursday's open-house-style gathering for which two hours were allotted was a member of the planning commission itself.
The land-use maps are required to be in comprehensive plans by state law, as are the opportunities for public feedback, one of which was provided for each of the jurisdictions for which the commission provides services – the cities of Glasgow, Cave City and Park City and then Barren County – the unincorporated portions for this element.
It was the one for the county areas that drew the nonexistent community attendance. Eddie Atnip was the other one besides staff; he chairs the Comprehensive Plan Committee for the commission.
The comprehensive plan, which has to be updated every five years, helps determine the growth directions for the county for the next five years and beyond, and the land-use maps are part of the plan.
McKeever said that if the county were to adopt a zoning ordinance in the future, though, that land-use map would be the basis for the first zoning map.
He said another reason the comprehensive plan is important is that all four governmental entities use it to seek grants and other funding, and the agencies providing those monies are more inclined to do so for an area that has planned for the future uses, he said.
Atnip said the Glasgow Alternative Transportation Endeavor plan that was incorporated into the last comprehensive plan is an example of that. The information compiled with proposed routes and the needs for pedestrian and cycling routes was used to obtain grant funding for the first two phases of the plan.
He said he had also attended the meeting for the Glasgow land-use map, and about four residents were there in addition to some council members.
McKeever said three to four residents came to each of the Cave City and Park City meetings, as well as the respective mayors and a few other city officials at each of those locations, and they got “really good feedback” from those who did go, and they showed interest and asked good, pertinent questions.
For the most part, though, “this kind of work only matters to people when it matters to them,” he said.
He elaborated that they tend to not be interested until an issue that directly pertains to them arises, like if a chicken farm or an industry or a junk yard and then, “We get that call.”
The purpose of the map is to provide local governments to have an idea of where growth and other trends are occurring and attempt to predict likely uses in the future, particularly where there is zoning, as with all three of the cities here. For example, an increasing amount of development has been occurring on what had been agricultural lands along the Ky. 90 corridor between Cave City and Glasgow, and that is expected to continue. Local governments can use those projections to show state transportation officials the need for road upgrades, McKeever said.
“None of this is ever set in stone,” he said.
Even where there is zoning, it can be changed if the party making the application can show that their intended purpose is better than the anticipated future land use.
The Glasgow Daily Times asked Myatt for some examples of places where intended uses or trends have led them to change the map from the version five years ago.
One place, he said, is where Nutrien Ag Solutions has purchased land near the junction of Ky. 1297 and Veterans Outer Loop.
“We called for it to be industrial, even in the last map,” Myatt said. “And it came to fruition that that area was, is in all purposes, I guess you would call it industrial ag-type zoning, but we clearly had it defined that there was a good location for an industrial-type use, regardless of if it's agriculturally based or commercially based or manufacturing based.”
He said Nutrien had contacted the planning office to find out about land-use restrictions and such and was told that it's in an unincorporated portion of the county so it had no such restrictions, but the land-use map did call for that type of use.
“It just more solidified that what we had projected and [where] we had anticipated growth was actually transpiring,” Myatt said.
So, in that case the map hasn't changed, but the newly planned purpose helped validate the expectations.
In a different scenario, they had previously projected the area just east of the Louie B. Nunn Cumberland Parkway along Ky. 90 to be commercial but not industrial, and then D & B Trucks & Equipment expanded the scope of its work and was annexed into Glasgow as light industrial, so that has changed on the map.
In Park City, an area to the southwest of town has been changed on the proposed land-use map, Myatt said, from residential to industrial, because some of that area has been revitalized, and now Ky. 255 goes over the railroad tracks providing more direct access to U.S. 31-W and Interstate 65.
“So you've got a state highway now that's wide enough to handle industrial traffic,” he said.
The next step before the comprehensive plan, including the proposed land-use maps, is finalized is to have a “trial-type” public hearing at a planning commission meeting at which people in favor of or opposed to it may speak. That is expected to occur Dec. 10, and a vote on the plan would follow the hearing, at the same meeting, Myatt said.