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A few thoughts on the East-West Corridor

 

By Councilwoman Candy Johnson

As you all may be aware there have been several meetings in the last couple of months regarding the East/West Corridor.

There has been ongoing debate as to why this is and is not needed at this time. City planners state that by the year 2030 tiny town road will fail if this corridor or some other traffic relieving measures is not taken. In my opinion there is a KY route that was brought up in the past (2007) that could alleviate some of the same future traffic concerns being mentioned in this same area. Little discussion or collaboration with Oak Grove, Hopkinsville, and Ft. Campbell has taken place with regards to this project. This would be a Gate 4 to I-24 corridor instead of the Gate 1 to right behind Kohl’s shopping plaza, which is being proposed.

Much of the land that would be affected is prime farmland some of which has been placed on the Historical Registry in our State. One concerned citizen wrote, “These farms are the foundation of Clarksville’s character, I seem to remember the Clarksville Seal stating “Agriculture and Community”. I believe it is important to future generations, like in our family, that we hold on to historic working farms as a vital part of the community, for this is something that can never be reconciled.” I think they made a great point in which I also believe in preservation of land if at all possible. After reviewing our Regional Planning Commissions Long Range Plan as our guide for growth I started to be very concerned with the lack of discussion that has taken place. As you will see from paragraphs below I am highlighting from this document there are many areas that we don’t seem to be taking into consideration with the corridor and the surrounding property.

Our own long-range plan developed by the Regional Planning Commission states the following:

Page 8 goals and objectives

  • Prime agricultural land is a valuable natural resource and its preservation should be considered in future developments.

Page 9 Overall goal

  • To discourage urban development on environmentally sensitive areas and in areas that may be needed for agricultural and forestry purposes.

Policies:

  • To carefully consider limiting the subdivision of land identified as prime agricultural or forestland.
  • Infrastructure improvements or expansion sufficient to support urban/suburban development should be restricted to existing urbanized areas and also to areas contiguous to these urban areas where the maximum return on investment can be realized in the shortest period of time. (Our city doesn’t know what the ROI will be.)

Page 17 Open Space and Recreational Goals:

Objective:

  • To create an open space system that provides convenient outdoor recreational use by the public, conserve natural resources.

Policies:

  • Urban development including recreational uses should be restricted from encroaching upon prime agricultural land.

With a few of the goals and objectives I have pointed out I am concerned with the rush that has taken place with this proposal. I do believe we must plan for growth, but leaving valuable input and facts out of the process is not the ideal way to plan for growth.

These are just a few thoughts I have at this point and I wanted to let everyone know that I and many citizens that this will affect have not been informed on any of the discussions on the corridor until a few weeks ago; therefore I am not in support of establishing a moratorium for this corridor and believe other routes should be researched that will relieve traffic congestion.

The last concern is that the 20 year plan that has been compiled has not been presented to the full council and we have yet to; as a council prioritize our needs for the city based on this plan; therefore my question is…if this is a true 20 year plan “guiding growth” then why are we selecting this corridor over other items to fund?

I was told by city planners that the rush is…… a set of plans awaiting approval at the Planning Commission which entails a 230 acre tract (400 lot subdivision) already zoned R4 that will be built in this area if we don’t reserve the land, right now. If this is approved then portions of the land needed for the corridor would be taken and we could never consider it again.

If the overload is not going to happen until 2030 as planners are saying and currently its been mentioned that if farmland was needed for public improvements it could be taken by eminent domain then what is the difference with the 400 lot subdivision? Is it cost only? Or are there other factors? There are more questions that need to be answered.

Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns about this meeting.


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