Woodford County

Versailles council to consider annexation of 185 acres on U.S. 60

Versailles City Council will consider Tuesday a first step toward the annexation of 185 acres on U.S. 60.

The land is part of what is known locally as the Backer property. The proposed annexation is not related to a new site for a proposed Wal-Mart, Versailles Mayor Brian Traugott said Sunday.

"I have never heard Wal-Mart mentioned for the Backer property," Traugott said. "I don't think Wal-Mart's dead, but I don't think it's there."

Wal-Mart had expressed interest this year in putting a superstore on 57 acres at Blue Grass Parkway and Troy Pike on the south side of Versailles. But that plan was withdrawn in August after the state Transportation Cabinet denied a request to put a primary entrance for the superstore on Troy Pike just north of the parkway.

A Wal-Mart spokesman said in August that the retailer was still interested in bringing a store to Versailles.

The proposed annexation involves two properties whose owners have asked to be brought into the city, Traugott said.

According to the Woodford County property valuation administrator's website, the larger tract is owned by 2001 Lexington Road LLC. The other property, a 25-acre tract at 2101 Lexington Road, is owned by Pecasa LLC, but a company called 2101 LLC is in the process of buying that property.

The land has been the subject of at least two rezoning battles.

In 2006, John Backer and Beazer Homes Investments LLC sought to rezone the land for mixed residential and commercial uses. Those included 562 single-family homes, 240 townhouses, 100 apartments and 90,000 square feet of retail and office space.

The Versailles-Midway-Woodford County Planning and Zoning Commission voted to recommend approval of the rezoning to Woodford Fiscal Court. But fiscal court denied the rezoning, citing crowded schools, strains on sewage-treatment capacity, increasing traffic congestion on U.S. 60 and more than 1,600 vacant lots already zoned for residential uses.

The fiscal court's decision was appealed to Woodford Circuit Court, which decided in favor of the county government. The case was then appealed to the Kentucky Court of Appeals, which in 2010 affirmed the Woodford Circuit Court ruling.

Backer also attempted to rezone the property in 2002, but fiscal court turned down that request, too.

If the council approves first reading of the ordinance Tuesday, a second reading will be held at the council's meeting on Nov. 4, which is Election Day.

Tuesday's meeting is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. at Versailles City Hall, 196 South Main Street.