Scott Grund

Scott Grund, a realtor who lives in Edmonton, facilitated a public forum Monday night at the Historic Metcalfe County Courthouse regarding land use planning. Sitting in front of Grund is Jason Nuetzman with the Barren River Area Development District.

Carl Cook doesn’t support the idea of land use planning in Metcalfe County.

“If I want to display a flag on a 40-foot pole, I have the right to do it,” he said. “I do not want Big Brother telling me what I can do on my own property.”

Cook, who is 81 and has lived in the Shady Grove community for several years, is not the only Metcalfe County resident against land use planning.

He and several others expressed their opinions Monday night during a public forum at the Historic Metcalfe County Courthouse. The forum, which is one of three to be hosted by the Metcalfe Fiscal Court, attracted over 50 people. It was facilitated by Scott Grund, a realtor who lives in Edmonton.

Grund attempted to go over a Power Point presentation with the group, but was constantly interrupted by people who either had questions, or who wanted to express their opinions.

Among them, besides Cook, was Michael Johnson, of the Lone Star Ridge community, who wrote an editorial in the local newspaper concerning the issue.

“I can build whatever I want on my property,” Johnson said, meaning he is not required to obtain a building permit to ask anyone’s permission about what he can do on his own land.

His father once served jail time for Johnson not obtaining a building permit when the family lived in Michigan, and that is one reason why he feels so passionately about the issue.

Charles Costello, of Edmonton, is also against the idea, but appeared to be willing to support the development of a comprehensive plan at first.

“I’m not sure we may not be cutting our noses off to spite our faces,” he said. “If we get left behind, without a plan, we may get left behind.”

As Costello listened to others speak during the meeting, he said, Metcalfe County is a “quiet bedroom community” and he does not want to see it grow or change in any way.

“Until this thing gets explained to me better, I’m going to be against it,” he said.

Judge-Executive Greg Wilson asked everyone to cast a “mock vote” before leaving the forum so he could get an idea of how county residents feel about the issue.

At one point during the forum, someone asked for a show of hands from people who supported the idea. Only one or two people raised their hands in support of it.

Later, another person asked for a show of hands from those who were against land use planning and a majority of those in the room raised their hands.

“It just looks from the show of hands I won’t be for it,” Wilson said.

But at the start of the meeting, Wilson said he was neither for it or against it.

“We want feedback from the people,” he said. “I just want what is best for the people of Metcalfe County.”

After the meeting, Wilson said, it appeared from the crowd’s response that “we will not go along with the planning at this stage.”

Two other public forums are scheduled later this month and in early August.

“If the next two meetings are very positive, we will try to take a look at it and maybe have another vote,” he said. “This is the whole reason for the meeting; to try to get feedback from the people to see where we need to go with this.”

The results of the “mock vote” will not be tallied until after all three meetings have been conducted.

Also attending the forum was Mayor Howard Garrett, who said it was apparent to him that county residents were not in favor of land use planning.

“Basically, what I heard was a lot of the people out in the county don’t understand completely about planning, the way I get it. What they are saying is they are against it. They want the fiscal court to be against it,” he said.

Garrett isn’t sure how fiscal court will vote on the issue at this point.

“County Judge-Executive Wilson stated he will go however the people vote to go and I think they are taking a vote tonight. I think a majority of the people here were against it tonight,” he said.

The Edmonton City Council has already appointed five people to serve on a planning commission. A Kentucky law requires the city to invite the fiscal court to join in with the city in developing a comprehensive plan and creating a joint city-county planning commission.

The city council has given the fiscal court until Sept. 1 to decide whether or not it will join the city.

If the fiscal court decides not to work with the city on creating a comprehensive plan or a joint city-county planning commission, Garrett said the city will continue to move forward with implementing land use planning in the city.

“We would like for the county to participate, but if they don’t that’s their decision,” he said. “We will honor that decision and the city will move forward.”

The only person who really spoke positively about the idea of bringing land use planning in the county was Roger Simmons, of Edmonton.

“I’m open. I hear so much against it that I would just like for it to be quiet where we could discuss it. There may be some things that I like and there may be some things that I don’t.” he said. “I’m not saying I’m for it all, but I’m not against it all.”

The next two public forums will be Monday, July 30, at 7 p.m. at the Summer Shade Volunteer Fire Department’s fire house and on Monday, Aug. 6, at 7 p.m. at the new building at Sulphur Well Park.

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