• Bob Vlach, Woodford Sun Staff

Permit allows bourbon warehouses near Midway

The Versailles-Midway-Woodford County Board of Adjustment approved a conditional-use permit allowing Brown-Forman Corporation (Woodford Reserve) to build 12 bourbon barrel warehouses and a transfer facility at 960 Georgetown Road, north of I-64 and the City of Midway. The proposed use for the 117.696 acres of A-1 (agricultural) land was recommended by the Agricultural Advisory Review Committee on April 13. Its recommendation was by a 3 to 1 vote. The Board of Adjustment approved the permit by a 3 to 1 vote on Monday night, with David Prewitt recusing himself (citing a possible conflict of interest) from the hearing and Marjorie Evans voting no. She said previous action to allow new barrel warehouses on Woodford Reserve's McCracken Pike property led to structures being built that are intrusive to the rural landscape and also a significant increase in truck traffic. "I'm just not sure this is a great way to use this land at this time," said Evans. According to information given to BOA members, the proposed 90,000 square-foot warehouses, which can house up to 65,000 barrels of bourbon, will be constructed over a period of 12 years with land continuing to be used for farming until such time as a warehouse has been built on the land. Also, trucks will not use Midway Road when transporting bourbon barrels to and from Woodford Reserve Distillery to these new offsite warehouses. Because the barrels of bourbon will remain in the warehouses for six to eight years, truck traffic will be "very light," Woodford Reserve Manager Todd Rowe said. Steve Ruschell, an attorney representing Woodford Reserve and Brown-Forman, noted that the proposed warehouses will be 2,000 feet from Georgetown Road to minimize their visibility, while a development plan will maintain "a very pastoral setting" on the driveway leading to the barrel warehouse locations. "My concern (with this proposal) is the very liberal interpretation of bourbon being an agricultural product," said Woodford County resident Deb Pekny. "I understand that it's derived from grain, but I don't understand the leap from production of bourbon to providing industrial warehouse storage on agricultural property." She also disagreed with the Ruschell on the visual impact of the proposed warehouses, which she described as "big" and "opposing." Ruschell told BOA members that the issue of whether or not bourbon warehouses are an agricultural enterprise was discussed at length by the AARC at its meeting in April. "We think it's a non-issue today," he said. Bed and breakfast The BOA unanimously approved a conditional-use permit allowing Stephen Simoff to operate a bed and breakfast/inn with three guestrooms in his home at 424 South Winter Street, Midway. No special events were requested and adequate off-street parking is available for overnight guests, according to information provided to BOA members. Simoff, a certified racing official, told the BOA that opening "Horse Country Cottage" will supplement his income and support Midway by bringing potential customers to town. Non-conforming use The BOA approved a change to an existing non-conforming use at 143 Virginia Avenue, R-3 (medium-density residential). The front area of the building owned by Tommy Nichols Properties, LLC, will be used for a storage warehouse by lessee Nicholas Walling instead of a mechanic's shop, the current non-conforming use. The BOA has authority to change one non-conforming use to another if a proposed use is less intense or appropriate for an area, said Planning Director Pattie Wilson. Walling said the proposed inmate commissary warehouse will provide temporary storage for purchased items, which are then shipped to the jail where an inmate is being lodged. One or two employees will work at his shipping and receiving warehouse, Walling said. Wilson told BOA members that authorities are working with the owner of the property to clean up outdoor storage at the mechanic's shop. Al Schooler voted in opposition to a motion to approve the non-conforming use, which passed 4 to 1. Home occupation The BOA unanimously approved a conditional-use permit for a home occupation at 117 Woodford Village Drive. Teresa Crigger sought the permit so she can operate a one-station beauty salon by appointment in her home. She will have no employees and has sufficient off-street parking for her clients, who will arrive one at a time. Variances The BOA unanimously approved three variances so William Kisor can construct a new residence on about one-half acre at 1420 Hifner Road, A-1 district. The existing house will be demolished once the new home is occupied.

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