Letter to the editor: Zone change was proper and well researched

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This letter is in response to John Ashcraft’s (letter to the editor) about the zone change at 311 South Main Street.
The planning and zoning ordinance was out of date since 1992 and the comprehensive plan is supposed to be updated every five years. The planning and zoning ordinance had not been updated since it was adopted in 1965.
Last year, the city council hired the Northern Kentucky Area Development District to bring our ordinance up to date at a cost of $2,200. This updated ordinance was adopted in June 2012. The comprehensive plan can be adopted as is without any changes to bring us into compliance for the time being.
The city has hired NKADD to review our plan and bring it up to date. The plan has not been updated since 1992. This update will cost the city $5,600.
In response to how fast the zone change took place, the change took three months before it was finalized. There were two public meetings, when only one was required. I contacted the NKADD, our legal advisor from Kentucky League of Cities, and an attorney who is involved in zone changes on a regular basis.
In addition, I researched the KRS guidelines on planning and zoning to ensure the steps we were taking were correct. One real estate agent stated that in all the years he had been here, he had never seen a sign, like the one at 311 South Main Street, on any property requesting a zone change.
Mr. Ashcraft says that we would lose residential space. This is not true, in the last year and a half there have been seven houses torn down. The city recommended the demolition of five of these houses and there are at least four additional houses that will go down in the near future.
I am sorry Ashcraft Properties is losing a tenant. However, the city wants to ensure that businesses do not leave the city limits.
In April, I proposed a resolution for any new business that builds in the city, or renovates an existing building and located within the city would be forgiven all city property taxes for three years. The city council unanimously adopted this resolution. I have sent letters to all taxing districts within Owen County suggesting that they adopted similar resolutions to attract new businesses to our county and city.
The city council and I are working hard to bring all of our ordinances up to date and to correct some mistakes that were made in the past. At this time we have made great progress in these efforts.

Doug West
Owenton Mayor