• Bob Vlach, Woodford Sun Staff

Woodford Forward opposes boundary expansion

Any decision to amend the county's Comprehensive Plan in order to expand the Versailles urban service boundary to include approximately 326 acres on Lexington Road (known as Edgewood Farm) would send the wrong message, according to Woodford Forward CEO Billy Van Pelt. "If we're going to change that vision on a case-by-case basis, then the Comprehensive Plan's not worth the paper it's written on," said Van Pelt. He said anyone who may want to move their family, business or equine operation here "would be very concerned that the vision for Versailles is subject to change at the drop of a hat." Van Pelt pointed out that the current Comprehensive Plan recommends Edgewood Farm's land use as rural district and designates the 326 acres outside the Versailles urban service boundary for agricultural operations, open space, agricultural tourism activities and limited low-density residential uses (such as in-family conveyances) to support the county's agricultural economy and landscape. "It's a transition zone. It's a transition zone between the Ag Equine Preserve district on the east side of Paynes Mill Road and the urban services boundary," added Van Pelt. Without this transition zone, he said, "You are bringing the urban area closer to core agricultural and equine operations - without a buffer." Simply put, Van Pelt said, Woodford Forward opposes this request to expand the Versailles urban services boundary because "it's in violation of the Comprehensive Plan." He said other properties are already located inside the urban service boundary, and there are unknowns about whether or not the City of Versailles has adequate sewage-treatment capacity and other public services for those future uses and the proposed urban uses for the Edgewood Farm property. Van Pelt said Woodford Forward does support rezoning the Edgewood Farm land already inside the Versailles urban services boundary (approximately 80 acres) for a new hospital site, as well as commercial and light industrial uses. "If it works," he added, "then we can revisit this issue (on whether or not to expand the urban services boundary) as part of the next Comp Plan process." A committee made up of Planning Commission members has already begun the process of reviewing the county's current land-use plan. Van Pelt said that committee can look into why land inside the Versailles urban services area has not been developed and if the recommended land use for each of those properties remains appropriate. "The taxpayers and the voters had not had the opportunity to engage in a conversation with the Comp Plan update committee on the land that is vacant within the urban services boundary," said Van Pelt. "Why it's vacant. If it should be rezoned; and if the recommended land uses should be changed." Van Pelt cited property on Troy Pike at the Blue Grass Parkway - a site previously proposed for a new Walmart - as one location inside the urban services area where nothing has happened. He said a similar scenario might occur on the Edgewood Farm property - where a developer's vision never happens, but an expansion of the urban services boundary has already occurred. He also pointed out that 241 acres designated for residential uses already exists on the south side of Lexington Road so why expand the urban service boundary to accommodate more residential uses on the Edgewood Farm land. When asked about the aim of Woodford Forward, Van Pelt said he speaks for a group of citizens that advocates for innovative policies that promote the best use of urban land and the agricultural use of productive farmland, while also supporting innovate development and redevelopment of urban land. "We know we're going to grow," he explained, "it's just a matter of when, where and how."

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