VERSAILLES — Less than a year after annexing 241 acres along U.S. 60, Versailles City Council has been asked to annex an additional 336 acres of farmland on the eastern edge of town.
At its Tuesday meeting, the council will give first reading to an ordinance that would annex Edgewood Farm LLC into the city limits. A second reading and vote on the proposed annexation is scheduled Aug. 18, said Mayor Brian Traugott.
The land, bordered by U.S. 60 and Paynes Mill Road, is zoned for agricultural use, and some of the it adjoins the Kroger Marketplace that opened in July.
"Once you have some activity it begets more activity," Traugott said.
It's not clear what the farm corporation has in mind for the property should it be annexed. A letter from Martha Field Sweet, a member of the Edgewood Farm corporation, merely says the "property is suitable for urban development." Sweet could not be reached for comment.
Most of the property to be annexed is outside the city's urban service boundary, which designates where city services such as water and sewer lines are to go.
"That's where the real debate comes in," Traugott said. "I wouldn't make a habit of expanding (the urban service boundary), but it depends on what's going to happen if it's expanded."
The proposed annexation has drawn the attention of a group called Citizens For Sustainable Community Growth, which formed last year to oppose a Wal-Mart superstore proposed for the southern edge of Versailles.
Wal-Mart eventually withdrew its development plan. Traugott said he has heard nothing more from Wal-Mart.
"We are not a no-growth group," said Karen Isberg, a member of the citizens group. "But we believe it needs to be done in a sustainable and responsible manner."
She added that there was plenty of land available for development within the urban service area.
"We feel — and we feel that many of the citizens of Woodford County agree with us — that we need to develop these properties before we expand," Isberg said.
The proposed annexation also is likely to draw comment from Woodford Forward, a group dedicated to preservation of farmland and developing what's already within the urban service boundary.
Woodford Forward's chief executive officer, Billy Van Pelt II, is scheduled to make a presentation Tuesday to city council about a countywide survey of residents. Nearly 75 percent of the survey respondents agreed with the statement that the future of Woodford County would depend on balancing "innovative and sustainable growth" with "protecting productive and unique farmland."
Last fall, the city council approved the annexation of two tracts totaling 241 acres of agricultural land. Those properties were outside the city limits but within the urban service boundary.
The council meets at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at 196 South Main Street, Versailles.