Rowan members building support for local planning
Rowan County KFTC members have been introducing county officials and residents to a planning and zoning approach to protecting their property and health from the threats of a hazardous liquids pipeline.
Members Annie Adams and Sue Tallichet had letters to the editor over the summer talking about the benefits of local planning. Adams took a more general approach, citing some local examples of development that could have had better outcomes:
“Comprehensive zoning ordinances … have been widely adopted for a reason—they protect property rights. [E]mpowered citizens have been given a voice in planning for the future of their neighborhoods and communities,” Adams wrote.
“As we work to bring more jobs to the region, we have to make sure that these developments bring benefits to all of the residents of our county, and the best way to do this is with zoning.
“Today, successful planning involves analyses of the existing conditions and constraints, financially and politically feasible strategies for implementation, practical considerations of design, and extensive public engagement.
“Zoning aids in this complex endeavor by demarcating important distinctions that guard the rights of residents while protecting the interests of businesses.
“Residents of Rowan County have a deep respect for land and landowners. This respect is precisely what should encourage us to consider a zoning ordinance.”
Tallichet more directly addressed the threats from the proposed re-purposed pipeline:
“With a potentially explosive natural gas liquids (NGL) pipeline proposal still on the table, has the time come for Rowan County to consider zoning in order for landowners to protect their property rights?
“As many of you may recall, corporate giant Kinder-Morgan has proposed to "repurpose" an existing 70-year-old pipeline in order to reverse the previous flow and carry highly explosive natural gas liquids across 18 Kentucky counties, including 20 miles in Rowan County.
“[W]e get all the risk and no economic benefits, such as jobs, from such a proposed project. And the risk is real. In 2004, a rupture in a mere four-inch pipe owned by another company ripped through a Floyd County neighborhood, destroying five homes.
“The newly proposed Kinder-Morgan pipeline is 24 inches. It would travel in close proximity to Tilden-Hogge Elementary School, the industrial park, through several residential subdivisions and many other homes and farms.
“Zoning is new to Rowan Countians, but preserving our land and our quality of life for ourselves and future generations is a time-honored tradition. Nonetheless, it is time.”
Adams and Tallichet led a delegation of seven county residents who attended the August Rowan Fiscal Court meeting to talk with county officials about this approach, offering an ordinance from Boyle County as a model for requiring companies seeking to construct hazardous liquids pipelines to get a conditional use permit.
“These ordinances will protect schools, daycare facilities, hospitals, nursing homes, jails, homes and much more,” said Tallichet, as reported in the Morehead News. “Without compliance with strict safety conditions including proximity, companies would not be granted a conditional-use permit.”
Court members reacted positively to the goals of a planning and zoning ordinance and agreed to learn more without making a commitment on how they will vote.
Chapter members will continue their community education efforts, appreciative of the efforts made by residents in Boyle, Madison and Pendleton counties to get their local officials to approve planning and zoning ordinances addressing hazardous materials.