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Opposition to Soccer Complex in Agricultural Zone

Opposition to Soccer Complex in Agricultural Zone

Update as of 6/29/22:

A BIG THANKS to each of you for your efforts – whether it was reaching out to Planning Staff, Board of Adjustment members via email or attending the (very long!) Board of Adjustment hearing yesterday afternoon and evening. Despite our best efforts, the conditional use permit for the 12 field soccer complex and 750 parking spaces was approved in our Agricultural-Rural zone. Because commercial recreational facilities are a permitted conditional use within the ordinance, we knew this was a possibility, but firmly believe that the intensity of the use and the location of the proposal are extremely inappropriate in the A-R zone, warranting disapproval.
What is more concerning was the dismissal by the Board of Adjustment of some of the key conditions on the proposal Planning Staff recommended in order to offer some protections to our rural area, like limited hours, limited number of tournaments, and coordination with the oldest equine auction house in Lexington, Fasig-Tipton, which will be a direct neighbor to the property. This approval sets a dangerous precedent as it relates to intense urban uses in our Agricultural-Rural area and will impact this corridor far into the future.
We were proud that so many concerned Lexingtonians showed up to voice their opposition to this proposal, which confirmed the value our community places on our rural area and the integrity of our land-use policies to ensure we grow in a sustainable and equitable way moving forward.
This conditional use permit is part of a larger, more comprehensive project, and two KEY pieces of that project will be heard by the Planning Commission on Thursday, July 28th at 1:30pm: a ZOTA to permit a soccer stadium with concerts and more in the Economic Development Zone, AND a ZOTA to permit lights and concessions on the 12 field soccer complex in the A-R zone. 
We will be keeping you updated as these two important ZOTAs move forward, and there will be more opportunities for action. We continue to need your support in making a strong stand for responsible land-use policy in Lexington-Fayette County.
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A critical issue has come before the Board of Adjustment impacting agricultural land outside our Urban Service Boundary that requires immediate action and attention from our community members. If you are able, please email the Board of Adjustment through the Planning Staff to express your concern and opposition to this proposal as soon as possible. A script is provided below.

Please also mark your calendars for a special meeting of the Board of Adjustment on this matter. Having as many people as possible attend this meeting is critical to our efforts.

BOA Special Meeting
6/28, 1:30pm
200 E. Main St. – City Hall

The integrity of our Agricultural-Rural zone, made up of our most prime soils outside the Urban Service Boundary, is under threat. Our A-R zone is the foundation of our brand and identity as the horse capital of the world and the factory floor of our economy, directly supporting 1 out of every 12 jobs in Lexington-Fayette County and creating a $2.3B annual economic impact in our community. Outside the USB, the success of the agricultural operations that support these jobs, support local food, and work as a pillar of our diverse economy, depend on the protection of the zoning ordinance. When an intense commercial use is proposed to be located in our agricultural zone, completely unrelated to agriculture, adjacent to million-dollar agricultural operations, with the potential to set precedent for how we will evaluate uses in the A-R zone moving forward, we need our community members to make their voices heard in opposition. 

Email planningmailbox@lexingtonky.gov. Sample email:

Dear Chairman and Members of the Board of Adjustment:

I am writing to you to request that you recommend disapproval of Conditional Use Application PLN-BOA-22-00026.

The request to permit a 12-field soccer complex, a large parking lot, bathroom and storage facilities in the A-R zone is a request for an intensive, commercial use in an incompatible location which works to a) undermine the intent of the A-R zone; b) set precedent for permitting similarly intensive commercial uses throughout the A-R zone, and c) would have significant adverse impacts on surrounding agricultural operations as well as future development in the proposed area.

In addition to the soccer fields, the 750 space parking lot proposed is out of character for the zone and poses major concerns around traffic, stormwater runoff and environmental issues to surrounding operations and development.

The soccer complex is clearly related to the proposal for the commercial soccer stadium nearby and this conditional use application, while separate, is one piece of a more comprehensive project that significantly impacts our community. Permitting the soccer field complex in the A-R zone to act as an extension of the commercial soccer stadium is a threat to our A-R zone and the prime soils and ag operations our community has long fought to protect.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Background:

Anderson Communities, on behalf of Lexington Sporting Club, has requested a conditional use permit for a 12-field soccer complex and 750-space parking lot on property located in the Agricultural-Rural (A-R) zone, located at 2501 Russell Cave Road. The soccer complex would be accessed via Newtown Pike and Providence Place Parkway. The project area consists of a 60-acre portion of a larger agricultural parcel between Russell Cave Road, Newtown Pike, and Interstates I-75 and I-64, right outside of the Urban Service Boundary. The soccer complex will host practices and games for Lexington Sporting Club youth and professional members and larger regional soccer tournaments and events.

Separately, located in another zone just to the south of the 12-field complex, a 6,000-10,000 person soccer stadium is being proposed, which will itself have thousands of parking spaces and be used for professional soccer games, concerts, and other large events. A stadium is not currently permitted as a use in the Economic Development zone, which is another issue before the Planning Commission and one you’ll hear more about in the near future. The soccer stadium is a related, but separate issue, from the 12-field soccer complex issue coming before the Board of Adjustment at this time.

Fayette Alliance Concerns:

The proposed use of agricultural land for a 12-field soccer complex and 750-space parking lot, along with restroom and maintenance facilities to accommodate those visitors, is the most intense use of land on our prime soils, outside the USB, and unrelated in any way to agriculture, our community has faced in some time. Permitting a non-agricultural use of this commercial nature and of this intensity in our A-R zone, and specifically in this location, would set county-wide precedent that will impact the future of development in this area and throughout both our rural and urban zones in Fayette County.

The location of this proposed complex in our northern corridor poses significant threats to surrounding agricultural operations on Newtown Pike, Ironworks Pike, and Russell Cave Road as well as critical concerns around traffic, noise pollution, stormwater runoff, and sewer impacts for agricultural, residential, and commercial development alike. Adverse impacts on surrounding equine animal operations, in particular to this location, which are sensitive to noise, traffic, and light, would be significant.

The proposed use for this property would also fundamentally change the character of development in the A-R zone and particularly in this corridor. Permitting a use of this type would likely discourage additional agricultural operations from locating nearby due to the impacts created by the use, which works to undermine the intent of the A-R zone where this property is located.

Our community has been committed to growing sustainably and equitably since the adoption of our USB in 1958 – and part of that responsible growth is the balance between our urban and rural areas. Agricultural businesses, a pillar of our local economy, are limited in where they can be located. The A-R zone contains our most prime soils, and our zoning code prevents intense urban uses from conflicting with this zone for a reason.

While we hope soccer can be successful in Lexington, it should not be to the detriment of the A-R zone, the zoning ordinance, and the agricultural operations that are so critical to Lexington-Fayette County.

Next steps:

  • Email Planning Staff in opposition to PLN-BOA-22-00026
  • Attend the Board of Adjustment Special Meeting on 6/28 at 1:30, 200 E. Vine Street, 3rd Floor Conference room 
  • Stay tuned! 
Fayette Alliance appreciates your commitment to our community. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We sincerely appreciate your timely action on this matter!