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.
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
“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
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
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.