Junction votes against pursuing smoking ban

Published 9:07 pm Monday, September 16, 2019

At the Junction City Council meeting Thursday night, Boyle County Magistrate Ronnie Short said fiscal court “is pushing now to make all of our businesses non-smoking. I want to come to the council tonight to see what you feel about it, if you want to pursue it.”

Mayor Jim Douglas said there were only two businesses in town that allowed smoking. “I don’t smoke anymore,” he said, but said he was opposed to enacting a smoking ban in the city.

Council member Kenny Baldwin agreed and said he believes that the business owners have the right to allow smoking or not. “I think it should be up to each business. It shouldn’t be up to the government body to tell what a 21-year-old person can and cannot do,” Baldwin said.

Email newsletter signup

Baldwin made a motion not to pursue a smoking ban for Junction City. Council member Vickie Bowling seconded and the decision passed unanimously.

The council also made it clear that it wanted to adopt a zoning ordinance for the city as soon as possible.

Danville-Boyle County Planning & Zoning Director Steve Hunter said Junction City had adopted the county’s comprehensive plan, “but the zoning ordinance isn’t there yet. So, at this moment in time, there’s technically no rules in Junction City.”

Boyle County  and the City of Danville have worked on revising and updating their zoning ordinances all summer, Hunter said, which will go into effect probably in January, once all of the governing bodies approved it.

However, “there’s some leg work to do” that the council needs to do to make sure zoning ordinances are what’s best for Junction City, Hunter said.

He asked for two volunteers to view Danville’s ordinances with him and make any “tweaks” regarding signs, buildings, setbacks and where things can go on in certain areas and properties. “That’s the hard part of the zoning ordinance that we have to get back in play,” Hunter said.

Douglas and Bowling agreed to work with Hunter on the project.

Traffic congestion around Junction City Elementary School continues to be a problem and safety concern, Baldwin said, especially when students are released in the afternoon.

A police officer’s presence has helped a little bit, he said. But a change in traffic patterns for busses and vehicles picking up students has to be implemented.

He said Police Chief Russell Preston had presented an idea for changes to the school, “But they kind of didn’t like it, for whatever reason, and shot it down.”

“It’s been like a merry-go-round, trying to get somebody to work with us or even call us back,” Baldwin said.

So, Baldwin contacted Boyle County Superintendent Mike LaFavors who was “very willing to work with us. More than willing to talk to us and address the problem.”

Soon, a new traffic plan will be implemented, Baldwin said. He added that LaFavors told him that if the plan didn’t work, then they’d come up with another one.

Baldwin said Lafavors told him, “It’s an issue and we need to take care of it.”

The council also:

• gave final reading and approved the 2020 real estate tax and tangible tax rates at 12.2 cents per $100;

• heard from Mayor Douglas that the city is advertising in Lexington that it is accepting bids for the construction of a new city hall. The due date is Nov. 14. He was also working on a bond issue for the project. “When I learn more, I’ll tell you more,” Douglas said.

• set Trick-or-treat, and the citywide Trunk-or-treat for 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 31; and

• tentatively set the downtown Christmas parade for Dec. 16.