First reading of revised intent to annex approved, now 583.7 acres

And other business from city commission

The Danville City Commission has approved the first reading of a revised intent to annex ordinance for a tract of approximately 583.7 acres between U.S. Hwy 127 and Gose Pike, extending to the south past KY 1273, also known as Airport Road.

The commission made the decision with a 3-1 vote among commissioners present, with the dissenting vote from Commissioner Kevin Caudill, at the commission meeting on Aug. 23.

The ordinance was originally for approximately 658 acres and previously had an approved first reading but was amended partially because some of the land was located in Lincoln County.

City Manager Earl Coffey said the boundary has been amended slightly on the south end to align with the southeastern boundary of the Boyle County-Lincoln County lines so it doesn’t go into Lincoln County.

Property owners are Franklin F. and Martha S. Jarvis, Nicholas Adams and Brittney Mills, William D. Spoonamore, William L. McCormick and the Danville-Boyle County Airport Board, according to the ordinance.

Prior to the commission’s decision, two of the property owners, the airport board and McCormick, spoke out against the intent to annex during the public comment portion of the meeting.

Marshall Wilt, a member of the airport board, gave a summary of development at the airport and then said the airport’s corporate tenants have been surveyed, and “There’s no enthusiasm for annexation. There’s substantial reservations about it. Some of our corporate tenants have indicated they may leave.”

He said he hopes the city will keep interests of tenants high in their list of priorities and that the city has indicated to the airport that there will be a series of conversations between the city and the board and potential tenants. He said he’s glad to see that and is looking forward to it.

Rob Caldwell, chair of the airport board, said “The overarching piece of this is your desire to promote economic development, and as the board chairman, I feel that the best way for that to happen is a very intimate sense of collaboration between the airport board and the city and the county and Lincoln County, since part of the airport is in Lincoln County, and I’m just here to encourage you all to be actively engaged and keep us engaged to help us all succeed.”

As for McCormick, he said he and his wife own a tract of land near Airport Road.

“We’re just here to ask you that you not annex us,” he said. “At this point in time, we can see no benefit to us or the farm to be annexed. I’m just asking you guys to consider this.”

During discussion of the ordinance, Caudill asked what the “hurry” was in approving the intent to annex. Coffey replied that it is at the request of neighboring property owners who had asked the property be annexed. The area owned by the airport board will remain under its control, Coffey said. Annexation would have no impact on the counties or boundaries or jurisdictional control — it’s just an expansion of the city’s corporate boundary, he said, and it’s about extension of municipal services in, around and to the airport.

One of the property owners who requested annexation desires to be within the city limits for the purpose of potential alcohol sales on the property, Coffey said.

He said the intent is about economic development, and he added that from an incentive perspective, the city has different incentives than the county and the airport could be subject to them.

Additionally, “This is a notice of intent, he said. “It is not annexing the airport. Annexation comes at minimum 60 days after the second reading and publication.”

Approving the intent is the first step toward discussions with the airport board and businesses to talk about issues and opportunities that exist.

“The annexation of the city is not a negative,” Coffey said. “A lot of businesses proactively seek to be involved in the city strictly because there’s an advantage from a services standpoint. There’s an advantage from insurance rating. There’s advantages for municipal services that are offered. There’s advantages with municipal rates the city can offer. So, in contrast, what the knee-jerk reaction can be sometimes is that it’s immediately a negative. In contrast to that, it is a substantial gain and win for the area around the airport, including the airport.”

Caudill asked why the city and the property owners couldn’t talk before approving the intent to annex about what annexation could mean for the property owners.

“It seems like we’re pulling some people, kicking and screaming, into this who don’t want to be there, and we can’t really give them a great reason why,” he said. “I think we need to tell them why. I mean, I think everybody just needs to get together, hear the same thing, hear the same numbers, hear the same everything.”

City Attorney Stephen Dexter responded that the ordinance for the intent to annex is what allows those conversations to transpire.

“It’s merely saying, blowing the whistle, let’s start,” Dexter said. “And the precise conversation that you are desiring to have is appropriate to have in the first quarter of what is a long game.”

Later, he said, “It would be inappropriate and out of place for staff, certainly the commission, to have these types of conversations prior to being on the record showing you have any intent of doing it. It would be like doing strategic planning for something you haven’t identified as a goal.”

Dexter said there have been conversations between the city and airport board and the city requested the board submit questions and staff prepared responses. On Aug. 23 with the approved first reading of the amended ordinance of intent to annex, the commission also voted unanimously for Mayor Mike Perros to sign off on a cover letter in response to the airport board’s questions.

“The goal is for this to be a win-win for all of us,” said Commissioner James “J.H.” Atkins.

In other business:

• The city approved the second reading of the property tax rates for the 2021-2022 fiscal year, adopting the compensating rate. Rates for FY 2021-2022 are $0.138 per $100 for real property and $0.1902 per $100 for personal property, according to the ordinance.

• In his engineering report, City Engineer Josh Morgan said in response to concerns from adjacent property and business owners about the closing of a section of Dillehay Street for Centre College to do construction on their new baseball field, city staff has been in communication with involved parties and has decided to create a wider turn on Furn Street to make sure semi trucks can make the turn on the alternate route.

• The city has chosen the Bayer Becker team for their Parks Facilities Design Team selection.

• The commission unanimously approved a zone change recommendation for 424/426 S. Fourth St. and 433/437 S. Third Street to central business. This will require an ordinance for the zone change to happen, which will need two readings.

• The city has accepted an additional $125,163 in COVID-19 relief funds. These funds do not have a required use; it is revenue replacement money.

• Pets will not be permitted in city-owned cemeteries under a cemetery rules and regulations amendment due to issues the city has had with animals defecating in the cemeteries and it not being cleaned up, after much discussion over the course of several meetings and ultimately being unanimously decided on. This is also planned to be amended to make breaking this regulation a citable civil offense rather than a criminal one.