Garrard deadlocked in vote on planning

September 28, 2004|VICKI STEVENS

LANCASTER - Walter "Tiddle" Hester heard a lot of opposition to countywide planning when he attended each of six public meetings held throughout the county over the past year. But Monday night, the Garrard County magistrate heard something new.

More than 200 people turned out for the Fiscal Court's vote on the issue, and of those who took advantage of the opportunity to address the court, 17 spoke in favor of planning and seven against.

"That's a big turnaround," said Hester, before making the motion to adopt the goals and objectives submitted to the court two weeks ago by the county Planning Commission.

Many in the crowd gave Hester a standing ovation, while many others remained in their seats, demonstrating how divisive the issue is.


The court also deadlocked: Judge-Executive E.J. Hasty and Magistrates Hester and Joe Leavell voted in favor, and Magistrates F.C. Foley, Marvin Conn and Larry Teater against.

The three against said the majority of their constituents do not want countywide planning and that they represent their constituents.

The vote prompted Planning Commission member Jimmy Flynn to ask magistrates why they even started the process if they didn't intend to follow through.

Fiscal Court established the Planning Commission in March 2003. The goals and objectives resulted from a series of six public meetings and were approved by seven of the eight planning commissioners before being submitted to the Fiscal Court.

Magistrates asked what changes would make proposal acceptable

County Attorney Jeff Moss said state law calls for the Fiscal Court to either accept or amend the goals and objectives but not reject them. After the vote, Moss asked magistrates for changes that would make the proposal acceptable to them. Conn and Teater said they don't have any objections but won't vote for it because their constituents don't want planning or zoning.

Magistrate Foley expressed some concern about the cost of installing or replacing culverts to properly deal with drainage.

The meeting was held at Garrard County High School to accommodate the large crowd. Moss said it was the largest turnout at any Fiscal Court meeting in his six years as county attorney.

Police officers were present for crowd control, and the court established guidelines for the meeting to ensure that it was orderly.

Before the meeting, supporters of planning passed out stickers for people to wear proclaiming themselves the "silent majority."

Although petitions have been circulated, Mike Carter, county agriculture agent and a planning supporter, told magistrates that to his knowledge only one scientific survey has been made in Garrard County to gauge residents' support or opposition to a Comprehensive Land Use Plan and countywide planning and zoning.

A group called Garrard County Tomorrow conducted the random survey in 2002.

Carter said today that it showed 83 1/2 percent of respondents either strongly supported or somewhat supported implementation of a Comprehensive Land Use Plan; 80.1 percent either strongly supported or somewhat supported some form of countywide P&Z.

The survey covered a variety of other issues as well, including recreation, education and infrastructure. "it ran the gamut. P&Z was just one of the issues," said Carter.

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