Newberry meeting brings mixed reactions



A mix of people with different jobs, goals and ages made up Mayor Jim Newberry’s meeting Monday to discuss the proposed amendments to off-campus housing zoning laws.

People in attendance included presidents of neighborhood associations around UK, landlords and their representatives, Urban County Council members, members of Newberry’s administration and Student Government Vice President Kelsey Hayes.

Hayes said Monday’s meeting was an idea session and it set a precedent for meetings to come.

“(The meeting) went very well,” Hayes said. “ … Everybody was speaking about ideas as far as moving forward. The focus wasn’t really what happened in the past. What would be a plausible solution to the problems the area is currently facing in regards to the housing issue?”

Molly Davis, president of the Elizabeth Street Neighborhood Association, attended the meeting but was hesitant to comment about what went on because she said Newberry requested he be the main point of contact for media on the housing issue.

“I’m not quite sure what to do,” Davis said. “Mayor Newberry said at the end of the meeting something like, he thought it would be better if he was the sole source of contact with the media. There were about 30 people in the room. I didn’t notice anybody saying, ‘No, that’s impossible. We have to be able to talk to the media.’ Nobody spoke up, so I guess we all kind of said ‘yes.’ ”

“I think I might just go to the Planning Committee [meeting Tuesday] and see how the amendments are handled by the council,” she said.

Davis said she was glad to see student representation at the meeting.

“For better or worse, this is his [Newberry’s] thing,” Davis said. “I am glad that they had a student there.”

Third District councilwoman Diane Lawless said she was unable to attend the meeting because of a prior obligation.

Hayes said another meeting will take place Wednesday but was waiting on an e-mail to confirm a time Monday night.