Foes of upscale retail project on Nicholasville Road want council to deny zoning change

bmusgrave@herald-leader.comSeptember 16, 2013 

  • IF YOU GO

    Urban County Council public hearing on zoning change for The Summit

    What: The Summit is a proposed commercial development at Nicholasville Rd. and Man o' War Blvd.

    When: 5 p.m. Sept. 17

    Where: Government Center, 200 E. Main St.

Neighbors of a proposed 50-acre commercial-residential development at Nicholasville Road and Man o' War Boulevard want the Urban County Council to deny a zoning change for the project Tuesday.

The Summit, a proposed upscale retail development, was approved unanimously by the Urban County Planning Commission in June after more than three hours of public comment.

A second public hearing will be Tuesday before the Urban County Council.

Bayer Properties, which is developing the former Fritz farm property at the southeast corner of the intersection, has said the project would cost $92.5 million and generate $153 million in economic impact during construction alone. The company has estimated that nearly 1,400 jobs would be created during construction, generating $40.4 million in wages.

Bill Lear, an attorney who represents Bayer Properties, declined to name potential tenants but said Bayer Properties had courted upscale retailers at its other properties. The Summit property in Birmingham, Ala., includes Saks Fifth Avenue, Urban Outfitters and Pottery Barn, according to its website.

Hank Graddy, a lawyer who represents Don't Overload Nicholasville Road with More Traffic, said Monday that the property was inconsistent with the comprehensive plan for the area. The retail development would generate too much traffic on Lexington's busiest commercial corridor, he said. Don't Overload Nicholasville Road is an organization of residents in the Nicholasville-Man o' War area.

"We are going to ask the Urban County Council to take a closer look at what the comprehensive plan actually says," Graddy said. "We believe the planning commission only looked at part of it but did not look at the traffic aspects of the smaller plan."

The South Nicholasville Road Small Area Plan — which guides future development — calls for a small, villagelike development.

"A million square feet is not a village," Graddy said. "We think this is way too intense, at the wrong location and at the wrong time."

Graddy said Fayette Mall covers 1.4 million square feet on 100 acres. "This is proposing 1 million square feet on 50 acres," Graddy said.

But Lear countered that the Summit was within the South Nicholasville Road Small Area plan.

"We're actually proposing a development at a much-lower density than is contemplated by the plan," Lear said. The project has been in the works for more than two years. If approved Tuesday by the Urban County Council, construction could start in 2015, Bayer Properties officials have said. A final development plan would have to be approved before construction could begin.


IF YOU GO

Urban County Council public hearing on zoning change for The Summit

What: The Summit is a proposed commercial development at Nicholasville Rd. and Man o' War Blvd.

When: 5 p.m. Sept. 17

Where: Government Center, 200 E. Main St.


Beth Musgrave: (859) 231-3205. Twitter: @HLCityhall.

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