A-B ZOTA Position Statement
Sayre, an independent school separate from the Fayette County Public School system, is requesting a text amendment to the Zoning Ordinance to make changes to its athletic complex. If approved, these changes would affect the entirety of the Agricultural-Buffer (A-B) zone, which currently includes properties around the Blue Sky Rural Activity Center, Tates Creek Road, and Delong Road.
Sayre’s proposed changes would allow them to construct an indoor recreational facility for their students and install loudspeakers for their existing outdoor recreational facility on the same property, located off of Athens-Boonesboro Road.
Changing the county-wide zoning ordinance to accommodate one development, under very specific circumstances, sets a precedent for additional expansion of conditional uses in our Agricultural-Buffer zone — an area designed to be a transition space between our urban and rural landscape.
Sayre’s requested amendments include:
- Permitting commercial and non-commercial outdoor and indoor recreational facilities to be built with outdoor lighting, outdoor loudspeakers, and limited concession sales when located adjacent to the Blue Sky Rural Activity Center
- Increasing the permitted size of structures used for a conditional use anywhere in the A-B zone from 10,000 square feet (current max size) to 2% of the total lot size
As it stands, outdoor recreational facilities are permitted conditional use in the A-B zone.
- However: outdoor lighting, loudspeakers, and food service are expressly prohibited — and indoor recreational facilities are not included in the current text.
- Additionally: 17 of the 20 conditional use facilities in the A-B zone are currently limited to 10,000 sqft in size.
- Indoor and outdoor recreational facilities with outdoor lighting, loudspeakers, and concession sales would be permitted in the A-B zone as conditional uses when located adjacent to the Blue Sky RAC.
- 17 additional conditional uses would be able to take advantage of the change in structure size, allowing them to increase their footprint beyond the 10,000 sqft limit depending on their property size.
Fayette Alliance’s Position
Fayette Alliance is opposed to the A-B ZOTA because of the unintended consequences posed by these changes, the expansion of the size of conditional uses in the A-B zone, and the precedent these changes set for future uses in the Rural Service Area.
Our community has done a great deal to ensure the protection of the Rural Service Area, and we should be forward-looking and cautious about the changes we make to our ordinance. While many developments and ordinance changes have good intentions, they also have broader, longer-lasting impacts and unintended consequences on community development.
We must continue to balance the protection of the agricultural intent of our rural zones with the expansion of non-agricultural uses outside the Urban Service Boundary. It can be done – it just takes intention, thoughtful planning, and broad community conversation. Fayette Alliance is committed to continuing to evaluate these types of changes and keeping the community updated on development efforts in both our urban and rural areas.
Read our full position statement that was sent to the Planning Commission.