The idea of a plan was discussed a year ago but lost momentum during the election year. The plan was discussed at Tuesday's Fiscal Court meeting. Assistant County Attorney Gail Guiling told the court what steps needed to be taken to get the plan started.
Land use planning is the term used for a branch of public policy which encompasses various disciplines which seek to order and regulate the use of land in an efficient and ethical way.
At its most basic level land use planning is likely to involve zoning and transport infrastructure planning. In most developed counties, land use planning is an important part of social policy, ensuring that land is used efficiently for the benefit of the wider economy and population as well as to protect the environment.
Guiling said Tuesday a community vision of where Logan County needed to be in the future was key to the plan.
“The one thing that is for sure is change,” said Guiling adding, “I grew up in the community and left in 1978, when I returned in 2003 this was not the same community I left. We need to take steps to preserve what we want preserved and grow what we want grown.”
Guiling drove home her support for land use planning by saying, “Do we as a community want change without input? Do we want our growth to be haphazard or do we want a say?”
The adult entertainment industry was used as an example by Guiling.
She said she didn't want an adult entertainment business located in her neighborhood but reminded the court that type of business was protected by the Constitution.
“Right now in the unincorporated areas there is no protection from these types of businesses. With land use planning you have protection of where they locate. You control time, place and manor,” said Guiling.
Guiling said there is a misconception about land use planning. She said people think someone else is trying to tell them what they can do with their land.
Judge/Executive Logan Chick said the county should look at this plan as a way to protect their interests and property.
Another example used by Guiling was the vast cave systems that run beneath Logan County.
She said land use planning would specify areas where industry should and should not locate. Because of the cave systems there is very little filtration and according to Guiling almost anything that goes into our ground in these areas would end up in our streams.
“This is why land use management would be helpful. For example, if an industry wanted to come in that had a product if accidentally spilled would contaminate the streams then we would know where and where not to locate it,” said Guiling. “We are an agricultural community. We need to protect out rich heritage by zoning theses areas as such.”
The land use management plan would have to involve the joint planning commission. Guiling said the organization would have to update its comprehensive plan which according to the state has to be done every five years. Logan County's plan is in its fourth year. Guiling said land use management planning stages will take some time and she wants to make sure the comprehensive plan which provides a good outlay of what the community wants, is updated.
The next step would be to have the University of Kentucky Design Team come in and complete a master plan similar to the one they did in Simpson County. This would define the areas.
“This step would involve public input,” said Guiling. After this was complete then talks about areas of planned growth would begin.
Chick told magistrates that he wanted to make sure there was enough interest with the court before any more time and effort was put into the plan.
“I do not want to put the time into this just to have it shot down,” said Chick. “I want us to look at this as a since of of protection but also as an opportunity for economic growth.”
Chick said he would like to meet in small groups with the magistrates and the cities representatives to discuss what they see happening in their areas.
“We need to get maps of the cities and get an idea of what they want to grow and what they want to protect.”
Jody Lassiter, director for the Logan Economic Alliance for Development (LEAD) was at Tuesday's court meeting and encouraged magistrates to implement a short-term ordinance that would declare everything agricultural until the land use management plan was complete. He said this was one way to protect the county from little undesirables popping up and trying to fall under the grandparent clause.
Magistrate Thomas Bouldin said he felt that was a good idea.
“This is something we need to think about before we start stirring the pot,” said Bouldin.