Woodford County

Versailles City Council considers annexing 241 acres

A crowd filled the Versailles City Council chamber Tuesday to learn more about the proposed annexation of 241 acres on U.S. 60.
A crowd filled the Versailles City Council chamber Tuesday to learn more about the proposed annexation of 241 acres on U.S. 60. Lexington Herald-Leader

VERSAILLES — The first reading of ordinances to annex 241 acres of agricultural land drew a crowd but not much discussion at Tuesday's Versailles City Council meeting.

Property owners for two parcels on U.S. 60 have asked to be brought into the city limits of Versailles. The land is part of what is known locally as "the Backer property," after former owner John Backer.

One property containing 179 acres is owned by 2001 Lexington Road LLC, whose manager is Digvijay Gaekwad, a Florida investor. The other property, 62 acres, is owned by Pecasa LLC but is in the process of being bought by a company called 2101 LLC, whose organizer and registered agent is Walter Edward Schott.

Robert Stilz Jr., the attorney representing 2001 Lexington Road LLC, said only residential uses are being considered for that property.

"It's a big, big piece of property, so it's got room for lots of different residential zoning classifications," Stilz said after the council meeting.

Asked whether there were plans for commercial development, Stilz said, "Not that I'm aware of."

Both properties are outside the city limits but within the urban service boundary of Versailles. That geographic area, established by the comprehensive plan, designates where city services such as water and sewer lines are to go in the future.

A crowd filled the city council chambers, but the only person to speak about the proposed annexation was Billy Van Pelt II, the chief executive officer of Woodford Forward. That group, which incorporated this year, promotes the "highest and best use of land throughout Woodford County," and encourages "innovative development" of urban areas.

"Any plan for this property must include adequate infrastructure and innovative design," Van Pelt said, reading from a written statement.

Van Pelt noted that a proposed 2006 rezoning of the land for residential uses was rejected by Woodford Fiscal Court because of a lack of sewage-treatement capacity, additional traffic that would be routed onto U.S. 60, "and the fact that there were already over 1,600 residential lots available for construction at that time."

There are now 1,078 vacant zoned lots in the Versailles urban service area, according to the Versailles-Midway-Woodford County Planning and Zoning Commission.

Van Pelt said Woodford Forward would not endorse the annexation unless the property owners provide documentation to the city that there is adequate infrastructure for sewer, water and traffic. In the event these issues are addressed, "we would consider offering our support," Van Pelt said.

There was no formal vote on the two annexation ordinances. That will come at the council's meeting Nov. 4, which is Election Day.