Guest opinion: Edgewood proposal is bad for Pisgah area
The Pisgah Community Historic Association (PCHA) is a group of Woodford County residents who care deeply about our community. Our organization has been incorporated since 1986, and the Pisgah Historic District has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1989, having been deemed “a national treasure worthy of preservation.” The association is incorporated for the purpose of providing services to the Pisgah Community. Those services include protecting the district from destruction and encroachment in Pisgah’s historic sites as recognized by the Woodford County Fiscal Court, the Kentucky Heritage Council, and the National Register of Historic Places. Simply stated, the entire Pisgah area is one of the most beautiful and desirable places to visit in not just Kentucky, but the nation. This is just part of the reason we oppose annexation, rezoning, and the expansion of the City of Versailles’s Urban Services Boundary to include the Edgewood Farm property, containing a total of 336.83 acres adjoining Lexington Road (U.S. 60) and Paynes Mill Road, for proposed development. The Pisgah Historic district extends to Paynes Mill Road, and therefore, shares the road as a common boundary with Edgewood Farm. The current agricultural zoning of Edgewood Farm and its location within the Rural District provide an important buffer to not only the Pisgah Historic District, but also the Agricultural/Equine Preserve. The Pisgah District and Agricultural Preserve are part of what make Woodford County so unique and desirable to many. The Agricultural/Equine Preserve designation is important to the local community and economy, and if Edgewood Farm is rezoned for development, it would jeopardize the intent and purpose of this preserve, which practically wraps around the property in question. With over 1,000 acres of land within the Versailles Urban Services area already available for development, further encroachment into rural areas and along borders of historic districts is neither prudent nor necessary. Any time we have urban use next to rural use, it negatively impacts the rural use. This is a problem because Woodford County has the largest total farm income in Kentucky. Farms in Woodford County provide for a high quality of life for all residents, valuable jobs, and a solid tax base. Opening the door to urban sprawl would be a detriment to all of this, as we believe it will not only hurt farm operations but also negatively impact the aesthetics of the area. We see tour buses literally every day on Paynes Mill Road, and are confident they are not here to view increased development, but rather beautiful farms, countryside, open space, and everything unique this county has to offer. Even on the Woodford County Planning Commission’s website one can find that the “intent” of agricultural land within our rural districts is “established to preserve the rural character of the agricultural service area by promoting agriculture and related uses, and by discouraging all forms of urban development.” I sincerely hope the Versailles – Midway – Woodford County Planning Commission can appreciate the points of view of the Pisgah Community Historic Association. Most of our group consists of lifelong residents of this area, and we love our county, our community, and our neighbors, and we only desire what we feel is the best path forward for everyone. We believe annexation, rezoning, and the expansion of the City of Versailles Urban Services Boundary to include Edgewood Farm would be a giant step in the wrong direction. As dozens of our members live either on Paynes Mill Road or the immediate surrounding area, keeping within the intended use of the land is of utmost importance to our community. Bryan Lyster is president of the Pisgah Community Historic Association.