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  Two years ago, about this time,  during an old school election. By the way, if you haven’t sent in your absentee ballot, don’t wait do it now, And if you desire to vote early at one of several local polling places, call 606-464-4115 to learn more, but I regress, I told the people of Lee County I had a plan to create a brighter future for Lee County. The key element to that plan was that it would take all of us to make it OUR plan.  Over the next couple of weeks, I’d like to remind everyone that the future of Lee County doesn’t rest in my vision or even the vision of the Fiscal Court, but in a community vision.  We are at a unique time in history when past industry is no longer producing and we have a future that is pretty much a blank slate.

     Is this a plan you can work with?  Comprehensive Plan for Lee County-I offer this long term plan as the frame work to build an economically healthy and sustainable future for Lee County.  It recognizes the planning process must identify mutual concerns and long-term interests, while addressing our individual histories and agendas.  It acknowledges we, as local government, businesses and community members, are committed to making joint decisions for the benefit of all. Community decisions must be understood and defendable to the entire population and reflect fiscal responsibility.  To accomplish that end, it is necessary to establish policy and prepare realistic goals and objectives to achieve the community we desire, not only for ourselves, but our children and grandchildren. A key element of my campaign is a core belief in the necessity of including every person who wants to be involved in charting the course to a bright and prosperous Lee County for everyone.  

    To do that, community stakeholders must represent a broad cross section of the community and not only provide input to the plan, but be familiar with its elements and able to debate the pros and cons of each action as it is implemented. In short we must create community ownership of the plan. I offer an executive overview of the goals and objectives of a proposed Comprehensive Plan from my perspective to begin the process.  This is not a finished project.  It is only one man’s ideas to build on.  It will take all who care about the future of Lee County to make this a real plan to create a community we and future generations can all live happily in.

     GOALS & OBJECTIVES-Each element of this plan contains a GOAL.  This reflects the desired condition we hope the plan achieves.  To achieve the desire GOAL, OBJECTIVES are identified for action.  An OBJECTIVE is an achievable action reflecting the community’s desires. GOAL:  Planning for the future of Lee County is based on coordination with the public, utilization of all fiscal resources and aimed at improving quality of life by acting in concert with regional partners. -OBJECTIVES: 1. Lee County shall be active in and viewed as an integral member of the various area agencies which include but are not limited to the EKU 22 county service area, the Kentucky River Area Development District, the 32 UNITE counties,  Kentucky River  District Health Dept

Cooperative,  Red River Gorge Chamber of Commerce and Kentucky River Authority Daniel Boone National Forest. 2. Development will be executed to make the community more attractive to new businesses and create opportunities for residents.

       Identifying existing resources and correcting deficiencies in infrastructure, training and policies will be encouraged to create a diverse economic stream and work force.  3.  Commitments to increasing or changing infrastructure or service shall be tied directly to the initiatives for future growth.  Existing infrastructure shall be maintained at the highest standards. 4. The public shall have easy access to review and provide input for all plans and actions to achieve the vision of the future.   5.  Lee County will ensure all parties are included in determining a diverse and beneficial land use plan.  6. In the execution of the Comprehensive Plan, positive and negative impacts of the actions will be investigated and addressed. 

      Goal:  Land use planning will reflect good stewardship of nature and protect rivers, streams, wetlands, forests and fields essential to safety, health, economic stability, and overall quality of life.  

    Objectives:  1. Any development in the community will identify and address the environmental impact on natural or ecological systems, such as wildlife habitats, air, and water of any site being considered for development. 2. New development or redevelopment shall consider existing topography and vegetation to preserve the existing character of the land and consider safety, health, economic stability and quality of life. 3. Sensitive areas and scenic areas shall be identified, mapped, and standards established for  preservation and restoration. 4. Watersheds and rivers shall be studied and monitored to prevent flooding and erosion and also promote habitats for wildlife, safety, health, economic development and quality of life. 5. Environmental information and studies shall be easily accessible to the general public. 6. Standards shall be established to specify methods during construction to properly manage the impacts of dust, erosion, noise, or other nuisances or environmental hazards. 

       When problems are encountered the proper agencies will be notified and corrective measures taken. 7. The incremental effects of developments on the environment, including, but not limited to storm water, erosion, woodlands, streams, and views shall be evaluated and addressed with public involvement. 8. The establishment of recycling programs and recycled materials industries shall be encouraged. 

    Goal: Safe, environmentally sound, and sanitary housing is the standard for Lee County residents. 

     Objectives: 1. A broad range of housing opportunities shall be provided which meet the needs and desires for all household types. 2. No housing policy shall have the effect of causing discrimination against any person on the basis of age, race, color, religion, sex, sexual preference, familial status, disability, or national origin. 3. The maintenance of sound existing housing, as well as, the rehabilitation of deteriorating housing shall be encouraged. 4. Current and future Primary and Secondary education capacity, industrial and business development shall be integrated into housing development reviews. 5. Residential development shall include an understanding of basic health and safety considerations, including proper connections to appropriate public water and sanitary sewer service, sewage disposal units, and telephone and electric lines,  

    Goal: Lee County has a vibrant and sustainable economy that trains and educates the community to be successful, encourages innovation and prosperity with meaningful employment opportunities for all its citizens and respects the physical environment.

  Objectives: 1.  Lee County shall promote economic opportunities within the county that contribute to the economic health of local government, non-profit and private enterprises ensuring greater prosperity for all its citizens. 2. Encourage the establishment of a small business incubator to provide education, training, resources, business assistance and mentoring to help community residents create new opportunities and encourage entrepreneurs to relocate here. 3. Local industries (agriculture, lumber, oil, tourism, education, retail, criminal housing, service, health, government, etc.) shall be promoted in suitable locations exemplifying how the county is a vital part of a strong regional economy. 4. Support of local agriculture and local business products and services shall be encouraged. 5.  Lee County shall manage a combination of land uses (residential, tourism, agricultural, commercial, industrial, public transportation, etc.) that creates a positive balance between the public revenues generated and the public expenditures required to support those uses. 6. Diversification of agricultural uses shall be encouraged. Markets for locally grown food crops shall be promoted.   The needs of agricultural operations should be considered in public infrastructure improvements and services. 7. Culturally sensitive and significant areas and structures in Lee County shall be identified and protected.  

      They will be registered with appropriate agencies for preservation and programs will be enacted to maximize the opportunities for developing local awareness and a cultural tourism industry.8. Telecommuting and home computer-generated business shall be encouraged. 

      A copy of the complete Comprehensive Plan is also available by contacting leekyjudge@gmail.com along with having questions answered.  Also follow the county daily on Facebook at leecountykentuckygovernment. I will publish the rest of the strategic plan in next week’s column.  We’ve got this Lee County.

, Daniel Boone Country  Tourism Region,  Kentucky Valley Educational 

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