Space for open space

Published:

The impasse between the city and county over open-space requirements for new residential developments must come to an end and reasonable requirements for open space adopted by both the City Commission and Fiscal Court.

So far, a joint city-county committee to make recommendations to the Commission and Fiscal Court has failed to live up to its responsibility. It plans to continue working early next year.

Magistrate Howard Dawson, a member of the joint committee, is correct to worry about how best to establish a method of maintenance of mandated open space in new subdivisions. However, Dawson also must go beyond his own bad experience with a neighborhood association and recognize that associations here and throughout the country have been successful for many years in maintaining common open space in an effective and affordable manner.

In this weeks committee meeting, both city and county planning directors presented several alternatives that can address effectively the open-space problem.

If Fiscal Court absolutely refuses to agree to an 8 percent open space requirement, compromise on 6 percent. That is certainly better than no requirement at all, which currently is the case in the county. Give developers further incentives to increase the amount of open space and use innovative designs by permitting greater density and other means of encouraging increased open space in their subdivisions.

Only as a last resort should the city and county impose impact fees on developers in exchange for eliminating the open-space requirement altogether. There is no assurance impact fees would generate the revenue needed for the city or county to create more quality public parks in the community.

With the average three-bedroom ranch home selling in some parts of the country for the mid to upper six figures, Frankfort and Franklin County continue to be an affordable place to live. Indeed, that very well could turn into a great virtue in attracting new business and industry.

That will not happen, however, if new residential developments cram as many houses onto every available acre as possible.

Surely, magistrates and commissioners must recognize that.

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