Berea City Council Hears Farristown Residents Talk Zoning, Passes Road Resurfacing Resolution | News
Citizens of Farristown in Berea appeared before Berea City Council on Tuesday seeking more public comment on proposed zoning changes in the area.
In the overall 2020 plan, the Farristown area of Berea is rezoned as an industrial zone. During the meeting, several citizens expressed their thoughts on this change and its impact on the historic community of Farristown.
“Farristown residents come to you today with a simple request,” Wendy Warren told council members. plans with them and give them the opportunity to share information with you. The best decisions are made after considering the impact of the decision from all sides. Additional perspectives can only be useful.
Grace Mackenzie of Berea shared that while she is convinced council wants the best for Berea, she wants council to make sure Farristown residents are heard.
“I also know that our visions of what’s best can differ,” Mackenzie said. “There are reasons why people want industry – for many it means jobs, jobs mean paychecks, paychecks mean taxes. also means noise, air pollution, more traffic and a decrease in home value many who live in Farristown, an impact on their place of origin; the place that has seen generations and generations of their families.”
Farristown is also a historic neighborhood with a long history of black residents. Farristown – founded in 1855 – was settled by a black family named Farris.
“Will we be a Berea who listens to people who have been historically marginalized? Or are we going to keep pushing people to the margins? asked Grace.
Marylin Martin, a current resident of the Farristown neighborhood, shared that she grew up in the neighborhood.
“But think about it. You wouldn’t want that to happen in your neighborhood,” Martin pointed out. “Why do you want to destroy ours?
She also shared several experiences where the damaged wooden bridge impacted the response time of first responders when contacting them in an emergency. Martin said they had to take a longer route because the wooden bridge is unusable, but it had to be prepared.
Berea Mayor Bruce Fraley said the city is pressuring state officials to prioritize repairing the bridge. However, as the mayor noted, the bridge is on a state highway, which is the responsibility of the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.
Council member Katie Startzmen shared in a video on her Facebook page that Berea City Council will be holding a “listening session” for concerned citizens and Farristown residents who want to share their thoughts on the rezoning. Startzmen said more details about the session would be shared soon, but it would be held in a few weeks.
Three proclamations were held during the meeting, including Building Safety Month in May 2022, Seniors Month in March 2022, and National Public Works Week. National Public Works Week has been designated May 15-21 by Mayor Fraley.
“I urge all citizens to join representatives of the American Works Public Works Association and government agencies in activities, events and ceremonies to honor our professionals, engineers, managers and employees of the works and to recognize the substantial contributions they make to protecting our national health, safety and quality of life,” said Fraley.
Roy Curtis’ public works offer recommendation was to accept Valley Farm Equipment’s offer of a 2020 Massey Ferguson 5711 D tractor with the mower for $127,000, and the motion passed.
The American Public Power Association Reliability Award was also presented to Berea’s Municipal Utilities Electrical Division.
John Fox, president of Friends of Boone Trace, on behalf of Eastern Kentucky Pride, urged the board to pass resolution #5-2022. The resolution concerns the designation of the National Heritage Area which was passed later in the meeting by the council.
“The National Park Service is evaluating the feasibility of including Kentucky wildlife as defined by 41 Appalachian counties in the National Heritage Areas system,” the resolution reads.
Council also adopted resolution #06-2022, a “Municipal Rural Assistance Agreement”. This resolution will take effect immediately.
“While the City of Berea has determined that various roads in the city are in need of resurfacing. And whereas the Commonwealth of Kentucky Department of Transportation Cabinet’s Rural and Municipal Relief Department has determined that the project is worthwhile , which is prepared to repay the city up to $300,667.80 in public funds for the completion of the project. And whereas the city of Berea wishes to accept public funding under the terms and conditions set forth in the agreement between the city and department,” reads the resolution.
The first reading of Ordinance #09-2022 regarding the rezoning of 1620 Menelaus Road. Several council members expressed concern about the rezoning and its impact on citizens.
“I just feel a real sense of responsibility, the weight of it and the impact of it is definitely going to have a community and I know right before I’m on the board, although it’s hard to know how it all works,” Startzman said. “And when we come to meetings twice a month and we know that and have been talking about it for months. It’s like second nature to us, but as a citizen looking from the outside, it might seem very opaque.”
In the City Administrator’s report, Rose Beverly asked council to approve the surplus of $10,450 for engineering services for the industrial fund, which was passed. Beverly also shared several events happening in the community, including the groundwork for the CIP road infrastructure infrastructure plan that will begin next week, L&N Train Day in June,
“Berea Cares is sponsoring an event called ‘Hooks and Heroes’; groups involved in organizing this event included all police departments, Berea Fire Department, Madison County, Emergency Medical Services and the bluegrass army depot Volunteers and staff will take our local youth fishing to mentor and learn from them,” Beverly said.
All youth will receive a rod and reel to keep and all donations were provided by the Berea Police Association, Beverly said.
During the council’s comments, each member thanked the citizens who spoke during the public comments.
“I am truly grateful to have the opportunity to hear from so many people concerned and interested in the growth of our city and I feel so lucky to hear from you and I look forward to continuing our conversation,” said said board member Startzman during the council. comments.
“Thank you all for coming. Thank you for expressing your hearts,” Council member John Payne said.