Mixed-use housing plan proposed for Lexington Road
A proposed mixed-use neighborhood on Lexington Road with a total of 255 residential units and space for office and retail may appear to be what the community needs, but Woodford County resident Lori Garkovich voiced her frustration with taking a piecemeal approach to making decisions on this and other large development proposals. "We need to begin to see development as interconnected with an exponential impact on the community," said Garkovich. "It's not just about the impact of this particular development, but all of the others that are being considered and have been considered." She called it important to not ignore the cumulative effect of development on public services and quality of life. An attorney representing the property owner (2101, LLC: Trey Schott) told Planning Commission members during a public hearing last Thursday, April 14, that an approval of his client's zone-change request does not mean the proposed Woodford Place neighborhood will happen overnight. "This is going to have a 10- to 15-year build-out," said Richard Murphy. Therefore, he said the impact on public services would occur over time. While the Versailles Public Works Department has acknowledged that water is available to serve this property, a flow study is currently being performed to determine availability and adequacy of sanitary sewers, according to a staff report provided to the Planning Commission. Also, enrollment figures provided by Woodford County Public Schools show that the four elementary schools, the high school and the middle school are nearing capacity (4,448) with 4,132 students as of April 6. During his presentation, Murphy likened the proposed mixed-use neighborhood to Townley Center in Lexington. He said residents of that community love the convenience of having retail options within walking distance of their homes. And he predicted residents of Woodford Place and nearby neighborhoods would travel on interconnected roads to shop and eat closer to home, too. In response to Murphy's assertion that these kinds of neighborhoods are popular because of today's lifestyles, Commissioner Jim Boggs told him that mixed-use neighborhoods have not worked in Versailles. He wanted assurance that this proposal - unlike others - will actually happen. Schott later told the commission that, "Quality rental housing does not exist here in Woodford County. There's a very limited supply of desirable, marketable building lots. Woodford Place will offer community-style living that we do not have in this county." He provided the commission with census data showing an increase in the percentage of renter-occupied compared to owner-occupied homes in Versailles. In addition to 83 single-family residences, 28 townhouse units and 144 apartment units, Woodford Place would have 91,125 square-feet for nonresidential uses. A neighboring property owner, Lindsey Cox McHatton, described the proposed 255 residential units as being "just too many on 62 (actually 63) acres - especially 144 apartments." She urged the commission to consider reducing the number of residential units and eliminating the commercial uses if its members consider recommending approval of the zone change. A traffic signal and turn lanes at Woodford Place's entrance (located across from the Methodist Home) will minimize traffic issues on Lexington Road, Murphy said. A traffic engineer employed by the developer said his traffic counts showed a higher level of service (LOS) than a Planning Commission transportation study in 1999 showing the LOS at a D and a future LOS of F in 2020. Glenhaven resident Joan Rich said putting more traffic on Lexington Road - between Huntertown Road and Pisgah Pike - will negatively affect an existing situation. "You can't imagine what it's like to get across with no light and turn left," said Rich. "I am opposed (to this mixed-used neighborhood) because I hate to see this (urban sprawl) happen to the community of Versailles," she added. In 2014, the City of Versailles annexed both properties (a 63-acre tract and a 183-acre tract) historically known as the Backer Farm. Murphy argued that its action determined the property is "suitable for development for urban purposes without unreasonable delay," under state law. The Backer properties were involved in two previous zone-change requests, according to a staff report prepared for Planning Commission members. A request was made in 2001 to rezone the 183 acres at 2001 Lexington Road from A-1 (agriculture) to single-family residential: planned unit development. That request was denied because public services were not available and adequate. A request was made in 2006 to rezone the entire Backer Farm (246 acres) to single-family residential: planned unit development. That request was denied by Woodford Fiscal Court, which determined adding 902 residential units wasn't appropriate because of the uncertainty of adequate school capacity, sewage treatment capacity, and safe and adequate transportation. The Versailles-Midway-Woodford County Planning and Zoning Commission did not take action on the zone-change request after closing its public hearing last Thursday. The commission has 90 days from the close of its hearing to make a recommendation to Versailles City Council on the request to rezone 63 acres at 2101 Lexington from A-1 (agriculture) to R-1C (single-family residential) with a PUD (planned unit development) overlay. Versailles Center plat The commission approved a preliminary subdivision plat creating nine lots on the Versailles Center commercial property on the U.S. 60 Bypass at Lexington Road (Versailles Land Group, LLC). A Holiday Inn Express is proposed for one of the lots. Two non-buildable lots are designated as detention areas. The plat also extends two roads, Kroger Way and Park Place, to provide vehicular access to the commercial lots being created by the plat. Townhouse plat The commission approved a preliminary/final townhouse plat that allows Justin Branham to build a three-unit townhouse at 182, 186 and 188 Spring Run Road in the Park Place Subdivision.