Fiscal court discusses Clark County-Winchester Comprehensive Plan

Published 10:03 am Friday, December 8, 2023

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As expected, the Clark County Fiscal Court spent time on Thursday, Nov. 30th, considering different points.

One in particular was the Clark County-Winchester Comprehensive Plan.

While the court ultimately decided to table any final decisions until a later meeting, it was not without detailed discussion.

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The Clark County-Winchester Comprehensive Plan has the primary purpose of clarifying a broad vision and establishing guiding principles and policies for the future growth and development of the community.

While intending to be all-encompassing and focused on the community’s needs, the plan is therefore designed to engage with public input.

It has previously been discussed at various public locations, such as Robert D. Campbell Junior High School and the Clark County Extension Office.

Simultaneously, the plan seeks to provide community leaders with information while continually responding to changing conditions throughout the plan period.

The Clark County-Winchester Comprehensive Plan is designed for 2018-2038.

“Every five years, we’ve got to look at the Comprehensive Plan, and [the] Comprehensive Plan Committee looks at that and receives input and then makes a recommendation to Planning and Zoning, which then makes a recommendation to the Fiscal Court,” said Magistrate Dan Konstantopoulos. “We reviewed it, and we have a lot of questions and [concerns] about some of the additional languages compared to the 2018 [edition].”

Near the start of the discussion, Magistrate Chris Davis spoke.

“It’s my understanding … that a statute does permit the body [of] the fiscal court…to have an ability to offer any amendments if it deems necessary or if it’s [their] will,” he said. “I went through this very [extensively] … this is not something I’m ready to rubber stamp.”

Davis mentioned that he sometimes thought the text was anti-growth or anti-productive and sought clarification on included terms such as equitable.

“Who does not have access to public space in Clark County in 2023? We have equal protection under the law. We have anti-discrimination laws, fortunately,” Davis said. “Before almost half these goals, we’re talking about equitable access. What’s the derivation of all that?”

Robert Jeffries, director of planning and community development for the city of Winchester, responded.

“I know from the last three [to] four years, I’ve seen a lot of distrust or a lot of concerns when it comes to, ‘Am I being heard? Do I trust my neighbors? Do I trust the government?,’ ” he said. “I feel like a lot of it is a result [of] some of the hardships that some of our community and our nation and the rest of the world have experienced [due to] COVID.”

Davis, agreeing with Konstantopoulos that the term “all” was preferable to equitable, also expressed concern that some parts of the plan might be overly broad.

Other ,agistrates also spoke.

“[The language] seems contradicting a little bit,” said Magistrate Mark Miller, adding that he would like to discuss with Jeffries for further clarification.

Jeffries responded.

“The Comprehensive Plan is a guiding document,” he said. “We’re not drafting what changes are going to have to take place in order to achieve these things. There’s not going to [necessarily] be one answer.”

Magistrate Robert Blanton motioned for any final decision to be tabled.

“I would make a motion that we table this so that these questions can be resolved by conversations with the Planning Commission and with the Comprehensive Plan Committee and that [answers] are brought back with us once those concerns have been addressed,” he said.

The motion passed 5-2, with Magistrates Ernest Pasley and Davis serving as ‘no’ votes.

“I think the real questions is not so much getting questions answered, it’s going to be whether or not we want to agree, amend, or delete anything to the goals and objectives,” Davis said.

The fiscal court has 90 days from receiving its copy of the Clark County-Winchester Comprehensive Plan to take action.