LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) – A private plan to build 12 football fields on what is currently a horse training facility is one step closer to reality.
The Lexington City Board of Adjustment passed a motion granting conditional approval during a hearing on Tuesday.
A board member voted against granting approval. The current horse farm is zoned agricultural-rural, which means it requires special approvals. The football stadium that Lexington Sporting Club also wants to build next door is zoned differently.
Some people worry that the project will set a precedent that opens the door to more development in agricultural areas and could negatively impact nearby horse farms.
Most of those who spoke at the meeting were against the project, which would also bring 750 parking spaces. The Fayette Alliance asked its supporters to come and express their disapproval of the project. The public comments went on for hours.
The football fields would be accessible from Providence Place Parkway, which connects to Newtown Pike, and will eventually connect to Russell Cave Road.
It sits on what is currently the Ashwood Training Center. A horse trainer on site told us before the hearing that they had two days to vacate.
To mitigate the impact on properties in the area, the club agreed to build a 50ft buffer zone with trees between the fields and other properties.
Opponents of the plan argued it would eliminate more valuable soil, part of what makes bluegrass so good for horses. Developers claimed it was stripped of ownership years ago to build the current racecourse and facilities.
The Lexington Sporting Club wrote a message of applause for the board and reassurance to surrounding neighbors who may disagree with the endorsement.
“We agree with today’s decision and commend the Adjustment Board for considering the positive impact of this project, which is much needed to support the infrastructure of our strong youth academy.
Over 1,400 children are enrolled in our youth club, making this decision not only impactful for hundreds of families, but necessary to give these children adequate field space not found elsewhere in Lexington. This site allows us to meet this demand in one centralized location with the added benefit of having all age groups and teams in one place.
Agriculture is paramount in central Kentucky, and we are fully committed to being worthy neighbors to the community and stewards of the site itself.”
Several people argued that the developers should build their project elsewhere, closer to the city’s urban core, but the developers said the space did not exist in the amount they would need.