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Growing Pains In Burgin

City Council Gets Progress Reports On Development

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Robert Moore
Herald Staff

Burgin may soon have to change its welcome signs. The friendly little city is getting bigger, but with growth comes growing pains, which the Burgin City Council were struggling with at their meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 11.

First, Ken Stewart, the owner of the Burgin RV Park, gave the council a progress report. Stewart said they were looking to service self-contained RVs on approximately 30 lots. He said the lots averaged approximately 1,500 square foot per RV with a 12 foot distance between each unit. He said some lots are as big as 4,000 square feet.

Mayor Jim Caldwell said he is worried the park will fill up with construction workers.

“Every time KU got a big project, every campground here filled up with construction workers and it was a nightmare,” the mayor said..

“That’s not what we’re looking for,” Stewart said. He said he had turned down 25 potential customers, including construction workers.

Stewart said the city council would have to change two ordinances to approve the park, specifically the water meter ordinance. He said the provisions are designed to stop people from moving out of their homes into a camper on residential lot.

“It doesn’t say that,” Caldwell said. “It says you can’t live in a camper for six months.”

“I’m not trying to shove anything down your throat,” Stewart said. He said they would be able to open within the next three weeks once he got approval from the state

Councilman Sindicat “Sid” Dunn said he felt blind sided. Councilman Jamie Keebortz moved to table final approval.

Keebortz said they could hold a special-called meeting when Stewart receives state approval. The motion passed unanimously.

Next, the council heard from Darwin Holloway and Eric Bosch of H&B Properties, who want to develop nine single family rental units—two beds and one bath—on a lot on Danville Street. The developers said the taxable value of property would go from $20,000 to half a million.

The lot is narrow—400 by 72 feet. The developers said the lot’s shape prevents any big money investment. They said the proposed development will meet any state regulations. They said they’d like to start construction at the start of next year.

Councilman Dunn asked about reducing the development to six units. The developers said six would be the minimum. They said there is a formula used when it comes to rental income that factors in taxes and construction costs. They said they’ve got to stay under $100 a square foot to make it work,

“I’m all about growth,” Councilman Keebortz said. “We’ve had a lot of dilapidation.” He said the development would bring new families to Burgin. Keebortz asked the developers to come back with more information.

“We’d like to see a basic floor plan,” said Mayor Caldwell. “We’ll see you next month.”

Next, Kenny Millburn, the building inspector for Mercer County, asked the city council about revising the ordinance for building permits.

“Nobody ever signed the agreement,” Milburn said. He said Burgin’s ordinance has not been updated since 2007.

“We need to get on top of it,” Milburn said.

He noted he is not allowed to perform inspections in the city, which does not belong to Mercer County planning and zoning.

“Burgin, as you can tell, is getting ready to experience tremendous growth,” Milburn said, noting another 30 unit development would be located in the city. He said Burgin’s program does not detail inspections, which are necessary to secure financing. Milburn offered his services as building inspector, but said the Mercer County Fiscal Court and the Burgin City Council would have to approve it.

Mayor Caldwell asked for a copy of the necessary paperwork. Milburn said he’d work with the city on creating a policy.

The council also agreed to purchase a house on Main Street from the White-Dunn family for $80,000. The council had initially agreed to pay $65,000 for the building, but the family had asked for more money.

“We’re kind of tired of sinking legal costs into it,” said Mayor Caldwell, who said the city had already prepared paperwork for the sale twice. He said the city had gone 20-percent over the appraisal price.

“We still didn’t get it done,” Caldwell said. He said the city had been accused of trying to steal the property.

“What price will get it done?” Caldwell asked. “That’s the question.”

Three of the four family members who would sign over the deed said they’d be happy to get $70,000 for the building, but the fourth relative—who did not attend the meeting—was holding out for $80,000. The family members said it would cost them money to force the relative to sell.

“We’re not going to get any monetary value out of it,” Councilman Keebortz said. He said the importance of the project was the potential. Keebortz said he was worried about someone buying the property and installing storage units.

Mayor Caldwell said the city may be able to use ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act of 2021) funding or get a one-percent loan.

After an executive session, Councilman Keebortz moved to purchase property for $80,000. Council Joe Monroe seconded. The motion passed unanimously, with Councilman Dunn abstaining. The family has seven days to respond.

For the rest of the story, check out this week’s issue of the Harrodsburg Herald. Click here to subscribe.

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