• Bob Vlach, Woodford Sun Staff

U-Haul to share its plans for Versailles on May 9

Before presenting a development plan in June on its planned move to Versailles, U-Haul International has scheduled a “Meet and Greet” event at Versailles Brewing Company in the Lexington Road Plaza on Wednesday, May 9, from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

A spokesman for U-Haul described the “Meet and Greet” as an opportunity to “introduce ourselves, our plan and our future in the City of Versailles.”

“We have moved a temporary showroom into the former Kroger building because of its great visibility and potential to meet our needs,” said Chris Nester, U-Haul Company of Louisville president, in an April 26 email.

He stated that U-Haul has several firm possibilities for tenants to occupy the remaining vacant Lexington Road Plaza storefronts, including the former Kmart, “and are working with local businesses that will benefit our community.” He did not address whether Rural King was a potential tenant for the Kmart store, nor did he discuss any changes to what U-Haul originally planned: “A full-service U-Haul store.”

Located in the highway business (B-4) district, principal uses in the Lexington Road Plaza include motels, filling stations, restaurants, lumberyards, produce stands, new and used auto sales, and public garages. Other uses include outdoor and indoor display and sales of farm implements; and “any other uses which are determined by the Board of Adjustment to be of the same general character as the permitted principal uses which will not be detrimental to the district in which they are located or neighboring districts,” the B-4 zoning ordinance states.

Versailles Mayor Brian Traugott, who has previously stated his concerns with allowing a self-storage facility to open in a B-4 district, said the proposed use remains inappropriate for that area as it’s currently zoned.

“I certainly think there’s a better use, but I think it’s a bad precedent for land-use decisions,” said Traugott.

“I’m not real crazy about having their trucks crowding the parking lot being the first thing you see when you roll into Versailles” from Lexington, said Traugott.

While the free market system often determines what type of business locates in a storefront, he said “I don’t think it’s an appropriate use for that zone. If it were in an industrial zone … I wouldn’t object formerly because” self-storage facilities are principal use in that district.

Traugott acknowledged that there could be a worse occupant than U-Haul in the Lexington Road Plaza, but “it’s a little unfair to the existing rental storage unit proprietors in town that they had to abide by a certain set of rules.”

In a letter, Joe Gay and Linda Moraja, the owners of two established self-storage businesses in Versailles, stated that the proposed uses will be out-of-character with the existing principal uses … and do not, in our opinion, meet the desired standard to aid the economic vitality of our community.”

U-Haul International purchased the Lexington Road Plaza in December. In an email after the acquisition by AMERCO (the parent company of U-Haul) for $5.092 million, Nester said, “Eventually, we hope to serve the Versailles community with a full-service U-Haul moving and self-storage facility. We will offer truck and trailer sharing, moving supplies and clean, dry and secure self-storage at affordable price points.”

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