Woodford votes to approve restaurant at CastlePost

CastlePost has been open since 2008.
CastlePost has been open since 2008.

VERSAILLES — Woodford Fiscal Court voted Tuesday night to approve a proposal that would allow the CastlePost to open a restaurant to the general public.

A second and final vote is scheduled for Feb. 12 on the issue, which was the subject of a couple of public hearings late last year.

Magistrates Charles "Bones" Webber, Gary Finnell, Ken Reed, Gerald Dotson, Duncan Gardiner and Jackie Brown voted for the measure. Magistrate Bruce Gill abstained because he had spoken in favor of the measure at a public hearing before the county planning commission.

Magistrate Larry Craig was the lone vote against the measure, which would also allow restaurants, gift shops and special events at horse farms, historic structures and other landmarks in the county.

Craig said he opposed the text amendments in the county's planning ordinance because of "vague" definitions. The amendments propose adding to the ordinance the terms "tourist destination" and "tourist destination, expanded."

"I think it's a little too vague, because a tourist destination could be Three Chimneys Farm, it could be 90 percent of the horse farms in the county," Craig said. "I could see if a farm changes hands, someone seeing that as an opportunity to go from less agriculture and to more commercialism.

"If we're going to preserve agriculture in Woodford County, I think it needs to be a working farm more than a tourist destination," Craig said.

Since it opened near the Fayette County line in 2008, CastlePost has been open only to overnight guests or to those who attend charity fund-raisers there. Tom Post, the lawyer who owns the castle and developed it into a luxury bed-and-breakfast, has wanted to open the U.S. 60 landmark to more people.

Woodford County Judge-Executive John Coyle rejected a request to allow public comment before the vote. That's because the magistrates wanted to base their votes solely on the public record as sent to them by the planning commission, said Woodford County Attorney Alan George.

Related stories from Lexington Herald Leader