Bowling Green Daily News: Barren residents question land uses

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Bowling Green Daily News: Barren residents question land uses  Posted: August 2, 2003
By Scott Sisco, Bowling Green Daily News

This is an article printed in the Bowling Green Daily News covering a panel discussion and forum about local land-use. KRC Director, Tom FitzGerald, was on the panel.

GLASGOW ? Barren County held an eighth forum – the last one currently planned – to discuss a possible land-use policy, drawing more than 100 county residents Tuesday night.

A panel, made up of people experienced in dealing with land-use planning, answered questions that were submitted in writing by the audience.

The panel included Tom FitzGerald, an attorney and the director of the Kentucky Resources Council, which offers free legal advice to people on environmental issues; Dean Watts, Nelson County judge-executive; John Matheney, who works for the Barren River Area Development District; John Colliver, vice chair of the Jefferson County Soil Conservation District and a Barren County native; Robin Bennett, who works for the Barren River Health Department; and Scott Young, administrator for Barren County-Glasgow planning and zoning.

“No one ever calls me when they are having a good day,” FitzGerald said.

Most of those calls come from people living in counties without land-use plans, he said.

“Right up to the point where the junkyard moves next door, we want less control over our property,” FitzGerald said.

FitzGerald told the people to think about what they value about their community and ask themselves if those values endure without planning.

Nelson County implemented land-use planning almost 30 years ago. Property values have increased, as has industry recruitment, Watts said.

“There will be tight times ahead and disagreements, but your children and grandchildren will thank you,” he said.

Matheney told the farmers in attendance that planning will not tell them what they can grow in their fields.

“Land development regulations primarily affect urban-type development,” Matheney said.

The panel was asked what the county will look like 15 years from now without planning.

Matheney said development on the fringe of the county will affect development in Barren County.

“You sit here and do absolutely nothing and the number of houses you have will grow,” he said. “The number of people and motor vehicles will increase.”

Young said some people in the county fear that there is already an ordinance waiting in the wings to be approved by the fiscal court establishing planning regulations.

“This isn’t where it stops, this is where it starts,” he said. “Barren County will be charged with developing what’s good for Barren County.”

One property owner submitted a comment saying he believes that since he pays taxes on property, he should be allowed to do what he wants with his property. FitzGerald asked what that person would do when a neighbor, who also pays taxes, does what he wants with his land.

“Growth has a way of creeping up on you,” Colliver said. “I think Barren is primed for growth.”

Another question was whether regulations for billboards will be included. An outer loop is being constructed around Glasgow and most of that loop is in the county.

“No regulations mean unsightly billboards and other uses,” Young said.

Another question was whether state and federal regulations could do the same thing planning regulations would do.

FitzGerald said those regulations aren’t specific enough to stop some unwanted uses of land. Planning regulations are designed to do that.

“It’s neighbor law,” he said.

By Kentucky Resources Council on 08/02/2003 5:32 PM
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