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Four P&Z Commissioners resign, Mayor announces before Dry Cleaners vote

With Larry Marshall joining majority, vote is 5-1 against zone change for cleaners. Councillor Parson questions right of cleaners to operate at 503 Greensburg ST at all, but City Attorney thinks differently; Joe Pyles, V.T. Yarberry, George Keltner, and Tim Bradshaw quit, leaving only member Mary Allender on P&Z. Mayor thinks $80,000 grant for sidewalks to school will come. Citizen Bill Anderson chastises City for failure to support Rescue Squad, media for poor reporting.
By Ed Waggener
In last night's Columbia City Council meeting, Mayor Patrick R. Bell announced the resignation of four of the five members of the Columbia Planning & Zoning Commission (P&Z).

The announcement was immediately followed by a stunning 5-1 rejection of a P&Z letter of recommendation on a zone change for a proposed dry cleaning store in the Greensburg ST historic neighborhood.

The action was taken in the regular April meeting of the Columbia City Council, which started at 6:00 p.m. (by the City Attorney's watch; 5:53 by the meeting room clock.), Monday, April 3, 2006.

The resignations appeared to be a first-strike response to an anticipated rejection of a controversial Planning & Zoning recommendation on a zone change in the Greensburg Street Historic Neighborhood.

The announcement of the resignations was made immediately before the councillors voted 5-1 to turn down the Planning & Zoning Commission's recommendation to change 503 Greensburg ST from a R-1 Residential to C-2 Highway Oriented Commercial.

The change had been requested to allow the lot's owners to double the size of the building they plan to use for a dry cleaning store there.

Only Councillor Edwin Taylor voted to accept the P&Z recommendation. This time, Senior Councillor Larry Marshall joined Councillors Charles Grimsley, Craig Dean, Joe Moore, and June Parson to deny the zone change.

Councillor Larry Marshall on winning side this time

In an earlier zone change request, Councillor Marshall had been on the losing side, voting with Councillor Taylor to give 503 Greensburg ST. commercial zoning status. That time, the request was for C-1 Downtown Commercial.

Elaborating on the resignations, Mayor Bell said that Chairman Joe Pyles and Planning & Zoning Commissioners V.T. Yarberry, and George Keltner had appeared in his office shortly after 2 p.m. Monday to announce they were quitting.

The Mayor said he was honoring resigning P&Z members' request to let the City Council know of the resignations before they voted on the 503 Greensburg ST matter. The Mayor also announced the resignation of P&Z member Tim Bradshaw, who notified him of his decision in a phone call.

With the resignations, Mary Allender, is the sole member on the Planning & Zoning panel at present.

Councillor Parson questions right to open dry cleaners

Later in the meeting, Councillor read from city regulations questioning whether or not the dry cleaner store could be opened at all. She cited rule that a location loses its right to operate in a non-compliant manner if it is not so operated for a period of one year.

"I have records from the utilities department which shows that utilities to 503 Greensburg ST were cut off in January of 2005," she said, "and they the records show that they are still no utilities there."

The lot at 503 Greensburg ST is officially zoned R-1 residential, but has a long history as the location of various business enterprises from Rives Kerbow's nursery to a General Telephone facility, to beauty shops, and an antique shop, among others.

City Attorney Marshall Loy countered that simply having the utilities shut off does not, of itself, mean that the location was out of compliance for commercial licensing. "We may say that in our regulations," he said, "but there are other factors. There is the matter of intent," he said, "and who knows whether there was commercial activity or not just because the city utilities were cut off"?He did agree to Councillor Parson's request to research the matter.

Meeting attendance relatively light

As if most could foresee the Council action, attendance was relatively light, with only a handful of Greensburg Street Historic Neighborhood opponents of the zone change on hand, and none of the P&Z commissioners or 503 Greensburg ST owners on hand. The meeting enjoyed a full complement of city officials.

The Mayor opened the meeting by quoting from a Robert Frost poem, Two Tramps in Snow Time and alluded to the need to get back home for the NCAA championship game, "It's important we're all home by 9:00," he said. Even with the dramatic announcements and somewhat lengthy second readings of ordinances, that aim of the meeting was accomplished.

Mayor Bell thinks we'll get his, Supt. Treece's application for sidewalks

Mayor Bell announced a joint application by the City and the Adair County School School District for an $80,000 grant to build sidewalks on Greensburg ST and Dillon ST.

The grant would come from the Kentucky Department of Transportation. The purpose of the sidewalks is to help students get more exercise by walking or biking to school. "It's an effort to cut down on obesity," Mayor Bell told the council.

He added, "I think we have a good application. I think we'll get it," he said of the $80,000 request.

Mayor and City Clerk announce dates for 2nd annual PRIDE cleanup

Mayor Bell and City Clerk Carolyn Edwards announced that the Second Annual Pride Cleanup will have events scheduled from April 17, 2006 to April 28, 2006.Dumpsters will be set at the Fairgrounds and on Tutt Street April 17-21 and April 24-28, for free dumping.

On April 20-22, the city and Adair County are jointly sponsoring a metals recycling program. Metal appliances can be taken to the Transfer Station during that time.

A citywide roadside cleanup will take place April 22.

City votes to make one-time $5,000 payment to cemetery

The Council voted to make a one-time grant of $5,000 to the Columbia City Cemetery, as requested at the February meeting. In the future, the City will be making annual payments to the Cemetery based on the City's 25% ownership.

Mayor Pat Bell recommended the payment saying, "They do a beautiful job maintaining the cemetery. I'm very appreciative of them."

Councillor June Parsons, who is also a member of the Columbia City Cemetery Board, thanked the Council for their action. Mrs. Parson is also secretary of the Cemetery Board. The complete board is as follows: Richard Phelps, President; John D. Lowe, III; Vice President Robert Flowers, Treasurer; June Parson, Secretary; David Martin, Montra Wethington, Jim Flowers, Ruby Barbee, and Susan Upchurch.

Not much in new job prospects, but lots of activity reported by industrial recruiter

There's not much in immediate prospects for new economic development from the Columbia-Adair County Industrial Authority. But there was a lot of activity reported.

The Council received its quarterly report, from Columbia-Adair County's part-time Industrial recruiter, Martin Jones. No new jobs as a result of the groups efforts were announced.

Mr. Jones did announce improvements in the Industrial Authority's website and touted a new information card, to be printed on heavy card stock. Pre-press copies of the card were passed out to the Mayor and Council.

Mr. Jones noted that websites are now the gateway for firms looking for locations.

Jones told the council that he has one existing somewhat live prospect, with whom "We're staying in touch" Jones said.

The prospective firm had wanted an existing structure, but has turned down those now available in Adair County Columbia. Jones said there's a chance this company might accept a build-to-suit structure in the industrial park.

City of Columbia grows by 52 acres

The Council heard the second and final readings for annexation of three tracts of land owned by the Adair County School District. The addition of the tracts increases the size of Columbia by approximately 52 acres. The newly annexed land is zoned "P," Public, Semi-Public.

Water, sewer rates cleared for increase

Columbia residents will now see a fairly large water and sewer increase. Also getting a second and final reading was the Water and Sewer Rates increase. The rate increase will be approximately 20% overall. The second reading clears the way for the increase to take effect.

Final reading for Policies and Procedures changes

The second and last reading of the changes of the city's policy and procedures was approved unanimously and means that changes will now be made by "Municipal Orders," rather than by individual ordinances.

The new Policies and Procedures puts more of the day-to-day adjustments in the hands of the Executive Branch and streamlines the legislative process.

Parks Board Plan to be on agenda in May

Councillor Charles Grimsley told the board that he planned to bring plans for a Parks & Recreation Board to the May meeting. Grimsley has been a long-time advocate for such a board.

Chamber request for money will be heard in May

The city received a request for continued funding support of the Columbia-Adair County Chamber of Commerce. No action was taken at the April meeting. Mayor Bellsaid that action on the letter would be taken up at the May meeting of the group. Last year the City donated $10,000 to the Chamber, matching a similar gift from the Adair County Fiscal Court.

Mayor tells Joe Moore Campbellsville ST off the Square walks will be built

In the Councillor's Comment segment of the meeting, Councillor Joe Moore asked if the sidewalk off the Square on the Adair Beauty Shop side could be rebuilt. "Now that we know the new courthouse won't be there," he said, "can't we go ahead with it." Earlier, Councillor Moore's request for that repair was turned down because it was feared that new construction on the corner could destroy the new sidewalk in the process."

Mayor Bell agreed. And Mr. Moore asked if the Mayor wanted him, Councillor Moore, to get somebody to do the work. Mayor Bell said that, no, he'd handle it. "We'll put the sidewalk in a package with other work and bid it," he said. "It will be done."

Mayor announces New York advertising is here

The Mayor announced at the meeting that the salesperson for the New York firm endorsed by the Mayor and Council to sell advertising on banners is here.

The council voted unanimously in an earlier meeting to endorse Mayor Bell's proposal to bring in the out-of-state firm to sell the advertising on banners to be hung from City utility poles.

At least four local firms sell banners. About 100 Columbians work in the graphics and advertising field, some of whom consider the City's action to endorse out of town firms to compete with them an affront. Apparently none of this was considered by the Mayor and Council.

Editorial comment: Examples of advertising on banners hung from utility poles can be seen on the edge of town in Greensburg, KY, and can be compared with the banners in downtown Greensburg which carry no commercial advertising.

Councillor Joe Moore privately apologized for his vote. "I was asleep," he said, "and I woke up and saw Larry Marshall voting for it and I just did the same." Mr. Moore, an electrician, acknowledged that he would not like to see the city favor an out of town electrician. He remembers the time years ago when the local Chamber of Commerce director told a new manufacturer that he couldn't get three-phase electricity installed in Columbia. He says the prospect was told, "You have to go to Epperson Electric in Somerset for that."

Bill Anderson scolds council, media, for failing to support Rescue Squad

Following regular business, Citizen Bill Anderson rose to warn of the possible loss of the local Rescue Squad. "You're going to lose the Rescue Squad here just like they've been lost elsewhere in Kentucky," he said. Mr. Anderson noted that there are now only 80 Rescue Squads operating in the state, down from a high of 120. Mr. Anderson chastised both the council for its lack of support, and the media for failing to bring the matter to the attention of the citizenry.

Mr. Anderson said that, prior to the Columbia-Adair County Rescue Squad getting the Bingo Hall, the City had given financial support to the Squad.

Two specific requests were made on behalf of the Columbia Adair County Rescue Squad.

One was from William Earl "Bill": Corbin for $4,000 to blacktop a 257' by 24' access road to the squad building.

The second did not specify a dollar amount, but was for help buying protective gear for the squad members, which was voiced by the Squad's training officer, Jason Rector.

Adjournment tradition continues

Councillor Joe Moore, in continuing his tradition of calling for adjournment, availed himself of one of his rarer variants, implementing the demonstrative pronoun that: saying "I move that we all go home!"

And so they did.

This is not documented, but it was approximately 6:45 p.m. by the meeting room clock, approximately 6:52 p.m. by the City Attorney's watch, when the meeting adjourned. Enought time to get home to television sets for the game. Sorry can't be more specific. Lost the napkin it was written on. Will do better next meeting.

Regular monthly meetings of the Columbia City Council are held each first Monday in City Hall, Campbellville ST, Columbia, KY 42728
Mayor Patrick R. Bell. Councillors Larry Marshall, Joe Moore, Charles Grimsley, Craig Dean, Edwin Taylor, and June Parsons. City Attorney Marshall Loy. City Court Clerk Carolyn Edwards. City Police Chief Mark Harris. City Utilities Commission Director Jim Williams. City Works Director Donnie Rowe. City Sanitation Director Kenneth Dulin.

This story was posted on 2006-04-04 08:09:52
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Preparing to speak for Rescue Squad at City Council Meeting, April 3, 2006

2006-04-04 - City Hall, Columbia, Adair CO, KY - Photo Ed Waggener. Citizen Bill Anderson looks on, and Rescue Squad Training Coordinator Jason Rector looks up from notes at the City Council meeting, Monday, April 3, 2006. Anderson warned the council that Columbia and Adair County could lose the rescue squad if more support is not given the unit. Rector asked the Council to help fund protective gear for squad members, and Rescue Squad spokesperson William Earl Corbin requested $4,000 to blacktop the entrance road to the Squad Building. No action was taken at the meeting. At right, Anyssa Radford, who had a win at the Council meeting when the P&Z recommendation for a zone change to C-2 Highway Oriented Commercial for 503 Greensburg ST was denied by the council. Her home is next door to the lot.
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