Lexington residents ask city to change proposed location for salt storage barn

bmusgrave@herald-leader.comAugust 28, 2013 

Residents of the Eastland Parkway Neighborhood Association want the city to reverse a previous decision to put a second salt storage location at the former Continental Inn property.

Residents have complained that putting the temporary salt barn at the entrance to a residential neighborhood would be an eyesore and a potential environmental hazard.

Urban County Councilman Kevin Stinnett, who represents the Eastland Parkway area, wants the city to get out of the lease it signed for the lot near the intersection of Winchester and New Circle roads. The lease, which was signed July 1, has a 60-day opt-out clause, Stinnett said.

Mayor Jim Gray said Wednesday that he is open to finding an alternative site.

"I don't like it," Gray said of the location. "I'm not willing to say it is over."

The issue is likely to be addressed at Thursday's Urban County Council meeting.

The city had asked for proposals for alternative sites after the Eastland Parkway Neighborhood Association, which has about 800 residents, raised concerns about placing salt storage in that area.

But no bids for alternative sites were received as of Wednesday afternoon.

The Urban County Council voted 11-3 at a meeting in July to approve the Continental Inn lease. Council members Chris Ford, Harry Clarke and Stinnett voted against the measure.

It would take 10 members to vote to rescind the previous vote, Stinnett said. Because he voted against the measure, he cannot ask the council to reconsider.

On Wednesday, Stinnett said he does not know whether any other council member would vote to reverse the previous vote.

The city already has a salt storage site off Old Frankfort Pike. The Continental Inn site was intended to be used until the city completed a permanent storage site off Athens-Boonesboro Road by Jan. 1, 2015.

The city could do without a second salt storage site for 16 months, Stinnett said.

Stinnett, who was given a financial breakdown of the project, said it would cost about $190,000 to build the temporary site.

"Unless we have a really, really bad winter, we won't have any cost savings," he said.

But city officials said it takes salt trucks too long to cross the entire city to salt roads before major storms. Having a second salt storage site would be more efficient and save on gas, said Sally Hamilton, chief administrative officer.

Hamilton said Wednesday that the city needs to make a decision soon.

"We need to proceed before we get into winter," she said.

Loys Mather, president of the Eastland Parkway Neighborhood Association, said residents will be at Thursday's council meeting to urge city officials to find another location or get out of the Continental Inn lease.

Mather and other neighborhood residents said they didn't know about the project until after the council voted July 9 to approve the lease.

"We want them to stop the project," Mather said. "It's up to them on how they want to get themselves out."

Beth Musgrave: (502) 875-3793. Twitter: @BGPolitics. Blog: Bluegrasspolitics.bloginky.com

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