• Bob Vlach, Woodford Sun Staff

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.

Variance denied

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.

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