Permits allowing event venues, private camp approved
Conditional-use permits allowing event venues on Fords Mill Road and a
private camp on Lower Clifton Road were both unanimously approved by the
Versailles-Midway-Woodford County Board of Adjustment (BOA) Monday.
The family of former Woodford County Judge-Executive John Coyle was
approved to use their “church barn” property at 4448 Fords Mill Road as
an indoor and outdoor venue for weddings and receptions; the former
Nonesuch School at 4440 Fords Mill Road as a venue for bridal showers,
small receptions, birthday parties and other gatherings of 50 or fewer
people; and the former firehouse grounds at 4430 Fords Mill Road,
adjacent to the other venues, for vendor parking and as a tent location.
Together the family-owned (Church Barn Farm, LLC) properties total about
19 acres, which limited farming options on the land, Andrew Coyle told
the BOA. He said there isn’t a way to generate a sustainable source of
farming income to maintain the property.
Coyle, the oldest son of the-late John “Bear” Coyle, said his mom and
three brothers were inspired to transform Church Barn Farm into a venue
for weddings and receptions after his brother Matthew got married there
in 2016. “That sort of got the wheels turning for Dad and Momma,” said
Andrew Coyle. Before his death, John Coyle had talked about pursuing the
idea of transforming the historic Nonesuch Christian Church building
(erected in 1894 and later converted into a tobacco farm) into a wedding
“I do not think there’s anything more uniquely Woodford and something
that’s pure Kentucky than a church that’s converted into a tobacco
barn,” Andrew Coyle said.
Earlier, he jokingly said, “I simply did the math, and with three
beautiful young daughters I figured it was cheaper to start up your own
wedding venue than to pay for three …”
Several conditions were self-imposed by the Coyle family, including a
limit of 31 events per year at the Church Barn venue. The family also
agreed to not allow any outdoor amplified music after 10 p.m., and
direct outdoor lighting downward.
The BOA also approved a conditional-use permit so the Coyle brothers
(Coyle Brothers, LLC) can use about one acre of land at 15 Lower Clifton
Road as a private camp for up to eight guests. They also agreed to limit
guests to four vehicles.
Those limits will not apply to the Coyle family when they are using the
private camp for recreational uses because they own the property,
Planning Director Pattie Wilson told the BOA.
It was also noted that no recreational vehicles or ATVs will be allowed
at the private camp. Camping will be limited to tents only, with
recreational opportunities like fishing, kayaking and yard games. Events
will also not be allowed at the camp, which has a cabin.
“We grew up on the (Kentucky) river … on Oregon Road,” said Andrew
Coyle. “I had a blast as a kid playing on the river and the creeks that
fed into it.” He said the private camp will give other kids and their
families that same opportunity. And because it’s a couple of miles from
two bourbon distilleries, it will also give visiting families wanting to
camp that option, he added.
No one spoke in opposition to allowing the conditional uses for the
Church Barn Farm or private camp during the public hearings on the requests.
The board unanimously denied a request for variances to reduce the
setbacks of a garage on Montgomery Avenue in order to use the accessory
structure as a primary residence.
Property owner Jacob Gonzalez told the BOA that his family is selling
their home at 288 South Main Street and moving to Tennessee, but would
like to subdivide the garage property in order to have a residence at
109 Montgomery Avenue when they come here to visit family. He said they
will mow and maintain the property when they are here visiting and plan
to transform the garage into a residence within a year.
The BOA voted to deny the permit because of health and safety concerns
related to allowing a legally nonconforming accessory structure to
become a primary residence.