Third In A Series Of 12 Articles
By Jim Holton, Consultant,
Click Here for the WRVK
Audio Programs by Jim Holton about Economic Development.
Click Here for the WRVK Audio Programs by Jim Holton about Economic Development.
In my adult life, I have had the chance to travel over
a large part of the Commonwealth of Kentucky and I can honestly say the
diversity and beauty found within the county lines of Rockcastle County is
second to none. From the beautiful winding drive down to Livingston to horse
trails and canoeing trips. You can see community pride as you travel to
Brodhead in the town and the community park. Mt. Vernon’s commitment to
downtown revitalization shows that the community values its past heritage
and there is nothing more beautiful than driving through some of the farm
land in the county when it is yielding a bountiful crop. But, if you think
about it, we are lucky because at this point, what have we done to ensure
the long-term integrity of our land and how it is developed in Rockcastle?
While there is a great deal of beauty in our county, there are also signs of the fact that we HAVE NOT done anything to plan for how land will be used in our county. Currently, with no countywide land use master plan, basically any company or any business could locate anywhere without having to be accountable to any governing body. And while on the surface, you might think that is great, ask the people in our neighboring Laurel County how they felt when an asphalt plant was located in the middle of a residential subdivision because there was no planning and zoning. The fact is we could have any number of undesirable or inappropriate businesses locate in our downtowns, in our neighborhoods or on some of our most prime agricultural land if we do not develop a plan for how Rockcastle County’s land should be used to best meet the needs of our residents and land owners.
One of the other great benefits of planned land use and planning and zoning is increased property values. With increased land values, it provides owners with greater resale value for their properties. And while there might be minor changes in taxes due, it also creates a stronger climate for community economic development because people outside of the county looking for opportunities to invest in a new business will know their investment will be protected because there are regulations on how land will be used adjacent or contiguous to their property. So, if I am a new business or industry, I know that if I invest millions of dollars in the development of a piece of property, I know that investment will be protected because of planned land use.
Another great benefit of planned land use and planning and zoning is the “map” it creates for the development of the infrastructure in Rockcastle County. Currently, because we have no plan for land use, we might not always make the best long-term decisions regarding the development of water lines, sewer lines, electric service and road improvements and development. With planned land use in place, it is much easier to determine how utilities will be developed in the county and the three cities to meet the long-term needs of businesses and residents in Rockcastle County. When Rockcastle County is making application for grant funds to both state and federal funding agencies for infrastructure and economic development projects assistance, the availability of planned land use and planning and zoning helps us be ranked as a stronger investment in the economy of Kentucky.
Finally, planned land use and planning and zoning will be developed and overseen with input from the entire county as the plans are created. As we continue to move forward with the plan, all residents of Rockcastle County will be given the opportunity to voice their opinion on what is appropriate to ensure that our plan will best serve the people of the county while at the same time creating an environment for progressive development to occur. We have a beautiful county in Rockcastle, but we want to keep it that way. And, we want to make sure we create the environment for community economic development to occur now and for many years to come.