• Bob Vlach, Woodford Sun Staff

Permits approved for RV park near Midway, Versailles hotel

Conditional-use permits allowing an RV park north of I-64 and a hotel in

downtown Versailles were approved by the Board of Adjustment (BOA)

Monday. Local leaders lauded both businesses for the economic impact

they’ll have on Woodford County.

The permit granted to Kentucky Bluegrass Experience Resort (KBER) by a 5

to 0 vote allows overnight accommodations for up to 472 guests as a

Tourist Destination Expanded enterprise. In addition to the guest RV

sites, the permit allows 15 sites for employees and 11 owner sites.

The proposed RV park and other amenities, including food services for

400 seats, and a splash park will be located on 240 acres (known as

Elkwood Farm) in Woodford and Scott counties. The land, including 97.59

acres in Woodford County, was purchased by the owners of Bluegrass

Experience in November 2020.

The initial phase of the KBER project will occur in Woodford County,

according to applicant Joey Svec. “Most of the project and most of the

amenities are (in) Woodford County, so that’s why we wanted to start on

this side,” he said. Guests will access the RV resort park, which plans

to offer primitive tent camping on its Scott County property, using

Georgetown Road (Ky. 341).

Two neighboring property owners asked for assurance that landscape

buffering will shield them from seeing RVs. They were told RV sites

would be located in pockets throughout the park, with a lot of

landscaping and buffering, which are required and also reviewable

because it’s a conditional use on land zoned for agricultural uses.

“We want to be as low-impact as we can to the neighbors,” said Svec, who

showed examples of the low-impact lighting planned for the RV park

during his PowerPoint presentation. He also noted the architecture of

structures in the park will mimic the exterior look of barns in the area.

Earlier, Svec said the proposed density of RV sites at KBER (4.8 per

acre) was “much lower” than the national average of eight to 10 sites

per acre, “because we allowed the land to dictate what it could hold.”

Svec also addressed a question about length of stay for guests by

telling the BOA, “We are prepared to not allow fulltime, long-term

guests.” He said no permanent structures such as storage sheds or decks

will be allowed on the RV sites. In its vote, the board agreed to add a

condition limiting the stay of guests to no more than six months.

Lucas Witt, a consultant for the Woodford County Economic Development

Authority, said, “We’re all overly excited” about KBER coming here. A

letter from the EDA stated its team met with Andrew Hopewell, the owner

and visionary of KBER, and supports his “goal of beautifying the

property while preserving its landscape and history.”

Nathan Brown, a co-owner of Bluegrass Distillers, which plans to open a

bourbon distillery on 62 acres adjacent to the RV park, also voiced

support for KBER. “We’re excited about it,” he said, “because we think

it’s going to be a place for Kentucky to really shine.”

A letter from Woodford County Chamber of Commerce board Chair Austin

Wingate pointed out that tourism plays a vital role in economic

development and lauded KBER for not only creating jobs, but bringing

guests to the community who will have “a ripple effect for our businesses.”

Before the owners of Kentucky Bluegrass Experience Resort can move

forward with plans for its RV park and amenities, a final development

plan and construction plans must still be approved.

Versailles hotel

The BOA also unanimously approved a conditional-use permit to allow a

40-room hotel/motel to operate in the Community Trust bank building at

101 North Main Street in downtown Versailles.

“We want to be a destination place where people decide: Hey, we want to

go to Woodford County and Versailles, and we want to stay at this

hotel,” said Scott Schutte, representing applicant Rick and Still Real

Estate, LLC. He said guests of the hotel will help other businesses in

Versailles.

“It’s something that I think is really going to support downtown and

support the community,” said Alex Riddle, a partner in this and other

business ventures on Court Street. “And I’m excited about the role that

it can play in filling up some of these empty storefronts, and bringing

more people downtown.”

Versailles Mayor Brian Traugott echoed Riddle’s words in a letter to the

BOA, describing a hotel as “exactly the type of improvement we need in

the civic center of our city … it will draw people into our community

and provide coveted customers for businesses in the area.”

The only issue raised during a public hearing on the request was a

concern about parking. A letter from the Woodford County Library

explained its concern regarding the proposed hotel’s impact on parking.

With limited on-street parking, most library patrons use the parking lot

behind the library at 103 South Main Street, the letter stated.

“We’re not against the project,” said Patrick Hall, a library board

member. “Anything that brings traffic towards that end of downtown is

great.” He said hopefully, some hotel guests will want to visit the

library, “but you’ve got to have someplace to park.”

Schutte said they’ve informed library representatives that the hotel

does not plan to use all of its 11 spaces in the rear parking lot, which

has a total of 75 spaces. “To the best of our knowledge,” the library’s

letter stated, thirty-six of the spaces are assigned to the library.

Instead of using its spaces or the library’s spaces in the rear lot,

Schutte told the BOA that hotel guests will use public parking along

Main Street and valet parking, “which should alleviate any concern that

the library may have.”

The hotel plan also includes a restaurant with a maximum of 70 seats,

which will likely land around 50 seats, Riddle said. He said he and his

business partners are willing to work with their neighbors on any

parking issues.

Hall said he was surprised when heard that the applicants only planned

to use five parking spaces for their employees in the lot behind the

library.

Permit, variance

approved

Adam and Melanie Marshall were unanimously approved for a

conditional-use permit that allows them to operate a bed and

breakfast/inn as a vacation rental at 4955 McCracken Pike. The three

bedroom vacation rental may have up to six guests.

Because the owners must reside on the same property as the vacation

rental, they must consolidate the properties at 4955 McCracken Pike and

4845 McCracken Pike (where they live) prior to renting the house to guests.

“We are really excited about the way Millville is going,” said Adam

Marshall. “We love Woodford County. We’ve got so many tourists coming

into our area.” He described operating a vacation rental as an

opportunity to promote and showcase Woodford County.

The BOA unanimously approved a 25-foot variance for 4850 Tyrone Pike

that allows Jonathan Price and Deanna Sallee to construct a garage in

the side yard.

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