By Jeff Noble / Staff Writer
Calling the building of a proposed extension of the Corbin Bypass “excessive, unnecessary and destructive,” opponents of the project let the Corbin City Commission know where they stood on the issue Monday, during their regular meeting.
With others opposing the road in the audience at Corbin City Hall, spokesperson Jeff Sparks said three of the four possible routes for the bypass extension would “not only devastate my home, but other subdivisions.” A resident of Stonegate Subdivision, he added several subdivisions, including Wildwood Trace and Cobblestone Estates would also be affected by the bypass extension.
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet held a public meeting on June 13 at Lynn Camp High School to get public feedback on the project. If built, it would extend the current Corbin Bypass (KY 3041) from its current junction with U.S. 25E in the city’s east end north into Knox and Laurel counties, before it arcs back into a new exit near I-75 at mile marker 31.
“Increased traffic and noise pollution would be the big problems. The greater good is not that greater. There are already plans to rebuild (U.S.) 25 in London and redesign ‘Malfunction Junction,’ north of town on 25 and 25E. The City of Corbin will be bypassed by the bypass. My goal is to come here and alert the community. The Transportation Cabinet has done a poor job on this. We do not desire this,” Sparks told the commission.
“We’ve voiced our opposition to this. We feel the same way,” Mayor Willard McBurney said to Sparks.
Concerns from some South Corbin residents about another issue was heard next.
Mark Eaton, a resident of the South Main Street/20th Street neighborhood, returned to the commission after appearing at last month’s meeting where he voiced his and other residents’ complaints of people at the Everlasting Arms Outreach homeless shelter loitering and littering in the neighborhood, along with uncovered tires and mosquitoes from Quality Tire causing a fire hazard.
“Those concerns are still an issue with me, and some in the neighborhood. My issue is still present, nothing is good. Drugs, drinking, felons. I don’t think the homeless shelter has a screening process. … I’m tired of it. I don’t know what the city can do about it, and I don’t know what can be done. The tire store still looks the same. No one wants to look like that in the neighborhood. And I’m tired of driving through town and seeing appliances and furniture lying in the neighborhoods. I’m addressing the frontage,” Eaton said.
City Building Inspector Frank Burke told Eaton the state Department of Environmental Protection had cited the tire store, and had given them until Aug. 10 to comply.
“Unfortunately, the homeless shelter is in a commercial zone. We, the police and fire department are working in ways to solve the problems. On the third issue, we’ve had issues for years. Freezers and refrigerators are the hot items. We haven’t had an ordinance,” he said.
“I want an ordinance,” Eaton told him.
Commissioner Joe Shelton said, “I know exactly what you’re saying. But there’s a legal way to do it. But we can’t snap our fingers and have it go away.”
“We went to the homeless shelter and the tire store. On the tires, we have to go through the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency). We gave the homeless shelter 60 days to make changes, fire-wise,” Fire Chief Barry McDonald told Eaton.
Police Chief David Campbell noted, “We’ve had 48 calls on the homeless shelter since last July. We’ll continue to answer the calls and making patrols.”
McBurney recommended Campbell, McDonald and Burke to continue their efforts on the issue.
Later in the session at Corbin City Hall, resident Ken Albro asked the commission to propose an ordinance or code, holding property owners accountable for growing trees, after Albro said he’d had problems with some persons in his neighborhood having overgrown trees and not doing maintenance on them, which he said created safety hazards.
Corbin has a new city Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Administrator, and her name is Clara Patterson.
Patterson, currently the administrative assistant with the city’s Department of Planning and Codes, was unanimously approved by the mayor and commission members.
Also approved was Corbin Police Sergeant Jim Miller as Assistant ABC Administrator for the city. Both Patterson and Miller will share enforcement duties in their respective positions.
Patterson takes over for the city’s former ABC Administrator, Assistant Police Chief Bruce Rains, who resigned last Monday. She had recently assisted Rains with the city’s ABC work.
Also approved was the second reading of an ordinance amending the city’s budget for the previous fiscal year of 2012-13. The final total for resources available and total appropriations for FY 2012-13 is now $7,785,500, compared to the original total of just under $7.1 million.
The action was done in order to have a balanced budget at the end of the year, with all bills coming in late and paid added to the old budget. Upon legal publication, the ordinance becomes law.
City commission members and the mayor also approved a municipal order, freezing salaries for police department employees. The order became effective immediately after its passing, and was due to budget issues, according to City Manager Marlon Sams. They also approved declaring the city’s old AT&T telephone as surplus equipment after the commission recently voted to name Verizon as the city’s phone provider. In addition, they authorized Sams to sell the AT&T phones as surplus. And commission members also approved an ordinance allowing McBurney to sign an inter-local corporation agreement and all related documents with the Kentucky League of Cities Insurance Services Association.
A motion for the city to draw up an ordinance, upon receipt of items, to accept Gilson Way as a city street was passed. While Burke said the street met city standards, City Attorney Bob Hammons told him the city would need a legal description of the street and the deed source before it could be made official.
Four Corbin Police Sergeants were promoted as lieutenants at the meeting. Sgt. Rusty Hedrick, Sgt. Jay Moore, Sgt. Glenn Taylor Jr. and Sgt. Bill Rose got the promotions from Police Chief Campbell, who added, “We now have a lieutenant per shift.”
Two other officers — Sgt. Rick Baker and Sgt. James Miller — will be promoted as lieutenants at a later date. All six promotions were approved by commission members.
Also, Jack Partin with the Corbin Fire Department was promoted to lieutenant. Fire Chief McDonald congratulated Partin on the promotion, which was approved by the commission. He added that the number of EMT’s (Emergency Medical Technicians) in the fire department would go up to 17 once three current EMT’s take a final test and become certified.
The commission accepted the resignation of firefighter Brandon Ledford after he received a firefighter recruit position in Lexington. They also authorized Sams to advertise for a firefighter position to fill Ledford’s place. And approval was given to appoint Robert Croley to the city’s Board of Adjustments, along with Victor Patel to the board of the Corbin Tourism and Convention Commission.
Before the season ended, Downtown Corbin Manager Andrew Salmons made a brief presentation outlining three types of improvements for the city’s downtown. He said by putting up curb bulb-outs, parallel parks in some parking spaces, and what’s called “pocket parks,” the city would achieve what Salmons called, “a more walkable downtown and make downtown as a destination place.”