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Officials get glimpse of new comp plan

Clark County magistrates and Winchester commissioners got their first glimpse at the newly updated comprehensive plan during a joint meeting Tuesday.

The plan, which sets guidelines for growth within the community, must be updated every five years. Planning Director Robert Jeffries said work began in January and the full plan will be offered for approval in September.

“We wanted to make sure we did our best to communicate and interact with the public so they can feel ownership of it,” Jeffries said.

“This is a people’s plan,” update committee chairman Eddie Gilkison said. “This isn’t the committee’s plan. This isn’t a straitjacket for you. It’s a good place to start.”

Amy Williams of Taylor Siefker Williams, which was hired as a consultant for the process, said the full document is nearly 300 pages long and sets 10 goals to be accomplished through the 20-year life of the plan.

Those goals include increasing acessibility throughout the county with sidewalks and bicycle paths to promoting the development of agricultural businesses.

“This is a guiding document,” she said. “We’re looking 20 years out. That doesn’t mean we’ll do it that way. Next year, things will change.”

Williams said more than 800 people, including school children, attended at least one of the public meetings  earlier this year to garner public input about changes to the plan.

The planning and zoning commission is scheduled to vote on the updated plan Sept. 5, followed by the Clark County Fiscal Court Sept. 13 and the Winchester Board of Commissioners Sept. 19.

Jeffries said suggestions for changes for the next couple weeks.

“I appreciate the fact you were on time,” Winchester Mayor Ed Burtner said. “That gives us plenty of time to digest it.”

The two legislative bodies also heard from Clark County Emergency Management Director and CSEPP manager Gary Epperson.

CSEPP (Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program) is a federally-funded project to promote preparedness in case of a release of chemical agents from Blue Grass Army Depot in Madison County.

The program has purchased about $6 million worth of equipment for first responders in Clark County in the last 11 years, Epperson said, including radios and the Emergency Operations Center.

The next purchases will be new decontamination equipment for Winchester Fire-EMS and Clark Regional Medical Center, as well as a new storage trailer for the hospital’s equipment.

In September, CSEPP, CRMC and local emergency agencies will participate in the annual exercise to train and responded to a chemical release scenario, he said. Federal observers will be on site to report on the event, he said.

No action was taken during Tuesday’s meeting. Burtner said the city commission and fiscal court have had a joint meeting every year since 2007 to discuss issues of mutual importance.

About Fred Petke

Fred Petke is a reporter for The Winchester Sun. His beats include cops, courts, fire, public records, city and county government and other news. To contact Fred, email fred.petke@winchestersun.com or call 859-759-0051.

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