Woodford County

Versailles City Council votes to annex 241 acres on U.S. 60 east of town

Versailles City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to annex 241 acres on U.S. 60 east of town.

Property owners for two parcels had 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 "Danny" Gaekwad. He is an Ocala, Fla., entrepreneur who owns several hotels and other businesses.

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.

Council members Owen Roberts, Ann Miller, Carl Ellis, Mary Ellen Bradley, Ken Kerkhoff and Mike Coleman all voted in favor of the two annexation ordinances. (Coleman was defeated in Tuesday night's election; Gary Jones, former parks and recreation director for Woodford County, was elected to the council.)

The annexations will become effective when the ordinances are published in The Woodford Sun newspaper, Versailles Mayor Brian Traugott said.

Robert Stilz Jr., the attorney representing 2001 Lexington Road LLC, said after a city council meeting two weeks ago that only residential uses are being considered for that property now zoned for agricultural uses.

The properties would need to be rezoned for residential purposes. Nothing has yet been filed with the Versailles-Midway-Woodford County Planning and Zoning Commission.

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

The annexed land has been the subject of previous 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 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.

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