Mayor Brandi Harless asked that the second reading for the ordinance to change the zoning of the property located at 4231 Pecan Drive be deferred until May 9. Mayor Harless says, “When I was elected we were asked to do two things simultaneously: to consider how we were going to grow and develop our community and the other, to make sure we were protecting our residents. Those two things sometimes go hand in hand, and sometimes they are separate from one another.” Harless adds, “There are some things that have come up in the last 24 hours for me—ideas that I have that I think we can pursue that I would like to explore.”
On April 11, the Paducah Board of Commissioners introduced an ordinance to change the zoning of the property from R-1 (Low Density Residential Zone) to R-4 (High Density Residential Zone). CDB Service Finance, LLC requested the zone change for the 18.246 acre property in order to construct a skilled nursing facility. Skilled nursing facilities are permitted in an R-4 zone in the City of Paducah. Currently, the property is wooded and vacant. The proposed 100-bed nursing facility would be 77,300 square feet in size. A public hearing was held at the April 3 Planning Commission meeting with the Planning Commission approving a resolution in support of the zone change.
Over the past several weeks, the residents in the Pecan Drive neighborhood have voiced their concerns to the Planning Commission and the Paducah Board of Commissioners about the development with concerns about traffic, noise, and storm water. Mayor Brandi Harless met with the residents last night to hear their concerns. At this meeting, several people voiced their opposition to the project.
Several people also spoke in favor of the project. Chris Burnett who owns the property under consideration for a zone change attended the meeting. Burnett says, “I certainly plan to do something with this property. So if this project doesn’t go through, then what next?” Burnett adds, “We are trying to find a good project for the property that hopefully will be a good asset for the neighborhood.” Paducah Economic Development President/CEO Scott Darnell says that the nursing facility would be fitting since health care is a targeted industry for the Paducah area. He says this is a low impact, single use project that is a good example of infill development. Darnell says, “This is what Paducah needs and what Paducah wants. You want higher paying jobs and quality development. You want things where our local graduates can gain local employment, and this facility will do that.”
The Paducah Board of Commissioners approved a $337,000 contract for architectural and engineering services with Marcum Engineering for the City Hall Phase I project. Phase I will include the rehabilitating and improving of City Hall’s roof, concrete overhang (canopy), façade, heating and cooling systems, and windows. The estimated cost for design services and construction along with a construction contingency is approximately $4.9 million. The goal is to complete the design and bidding process so that the construction for Phase I can begin early in 2018.
The Paducah Board of Commissioners introduced an ordinance to establish Section 126-88 Mobile Food Vehicles in the Paducah Code of Ordinances. This ordinance introduction regarding food trucks also known as mobile food vending comes after more than a year of research by the Planning Department. This ordinance does not apply to ice-cream trucks or food vending carts/stands. A summary of the research was presented at the March 28 Board of Commissioners meeting with a public hearing held at the April 17 Planning Commission Meeting. The Planning Commission has provided a positive recommendation regarding the establishment of this new ordinance. Prospective food trucks vendors would need to complete an application through the Planning Department. There is no fee for the application.
This ordinance expands the zones and locations in which a food truck could operate. Currently, mobile food trucks are allowed in Paducah only in the HBD (Highway Business District) zones which are along a section of U.S. 60/Hinkleville Road and a section of Lone Oak Road. The ordinance would allow food trucks in the commercial zones and along City of Paducah rights-of-way. Plus, with written permission, the trucks could operate on private property in those zones. The food truck may not operate for more than 14 consecutive days in one location and must wait 30 days before returning to that location. Also, the food truck may not be within 100 feet of the main entrance of a restaurant.
The ordinance also addresses traffic, sidewalks, and parking concerns in addition to hours of operation. The food trucks may operate within the hours of 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. They can operate until 2 a.m. if located on private property and the principal business on that property is open. The trucks cannot be left overnight in public parking lots or the City of Paducah rights-of-way. Several provisions also are outlined such as a three compartment sink and hot and cold water within the unit. There also are provisions on how close the food truck could get to special events unless it is permitted as part of a special event. To address noise concerns, the food truck may not use bells, music, horns, or other sounds to attract customers and the noise level must comply with the City’s noise ordinances. Also, generators will not be permitted on Broadway, 2nd Street, or within 100 feet of a residence.
The Paducah Board of Commissioners introduced an ordinance for a Project Partnership (PPA) Agreement between the Department of the Army and the City of Paducah for the floodwall reconstruction project. This agreement establishes the financial cost sharing between the federal government and the City of Paducah. Rehabilitating the City’s floodwall is projected to cost millions of dollars with a maximum federal authorization amount of slightly more than $32.5 million. This agreement outlines that the federal government is responsible for 65% of that possible maximum cost (approximately $21.1 million) with the City of Paducah’s portion at 35% (approximately $11.4 million). The City’s portion can be a combination of in-kind and cash funds. The floodwall projects will require federal legislation and appropriations to fund the project needs. This agreement outlines the cost sharing; however, it does not appropriate funding.
The City of Paducah operates and maintains the concrete and earthen levee system that extends 12.25 miles (9.25 miles of earthen levee and 3.0 miles of concrete). The system includes 12 pump stations and several gates, pipes, and 47 vehicular openings. Construction of the floodwall occurred between August 1939 and July 1949. The City took over operation and maintenance of the floodwall from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) following construction. According to the USACE, an estimated $1.2 billion of City and County assets are protected by Paducah’s floodwall protection system.