The possibility of a new hospital in Versailles inched closer to reality Thursday after the Woodford County planning commission recommended rezoning for the new facility.
The recommendation goes to Versailles City Council for final approval.
The commission also recommended amending the 2011 comprehensive plan.
The hospital is part of a proposed mixed-use development of 405 acres that would go onto what is now Edgewood Farm off U.S. 60 east of Versailles. The city expressed its intent to annex 336 of those acres last year.
The hospital would go on nearly 30 acres at the corner of U.S. 60 and Paynes Mill Road that is designated for professional office use. The development would be between the new Kroger and Paynes Mill Road.
Versailles is currently served by Bluegrass Community Hospital, a 25-bed facility on Amsden Avenue. The hospital is owned by LifePoint Hospitals of Brentwood, Tenn. The hospital’s administrator and other employees have spoken publicly about the need for a new hospital.
Most of Edgewood Farm is zoned for agricultural uses, but the developer, CRM Companies, seeks to rezone the land for apartments, single-family houses, highway businesses, light industry and professional offices.
The planning commission vote was 7-1, with Jim Boggs casting the only “no” vote.
Before the votes on the comprehensive plan amendment and rezoning, Boggs said he’d read all the letters that citizens had submitted to the commission. He said 90 percent of those letters were opposed to the Edgewood Farm rezoning.
“If we pass this, let’s bring some barrels and bring all our ‘Uniquely Woodford’ T-shirts and burn them,” Boggs said, referring to a local effort to promote the county and its products.
“Let’s cut down our ‘Uniquely Woodford’ signs and put up a new sign that says ‘Woodford: Just Like Jessamine’ or ‘Woodford: Just Like Scott,’” Boggs added.
Several people in the audience applauded.
Craig Turner, founder and CEO of CRM Companies, said he was pleased with the commission recommendation.
“I think we’ve got a real responsible development to bring forward to the city and the county,” Turner said. “Our goal is to keep Versailles and Woodford County unique.”