Fight looms over location of Lexington youth soccer fields, pro stadium

Lexington Sporting Club wants to take over 147 acres of Newtown Pike and Interstates 75 and 64 and convert them into 12 youth soccer fields that can host youth soccer leagues in the area.

In addition, the group is also requesting that the zoning text be amended to allow for the construction of the proposed $20 million football stadium on land adjacent to the proposed youth sports stadiums currently intended for economic development. The current zoning ordinance does not allow a playground in the economic development zone.

The land – located between Newtown Pike and Russell Cave Road – is owned by Anderson Communities.

But horse trainers and landowners near the property say they have concerns about the heavy traffic and noise near the horse farms.

The Urban District Amendment Board will decide whether to grant a conditional use permit for youth sports venues at 2501 Russell Cave Road at a 1:30 p.m. meeting on June 28. The council postponed the decision after a hearing of more than two hours on June 13 in which more than 20 people opposed the youth sports stadiums participated.

On June 2, a subcommittee of the Urban District Planning Commission postponed the amendment of the zoning text that would allow a stadium in the economic development zone. A District Two text amendment that would allow for lighting and concessions at the Youth Sports Stadium was introduced on 6 June.

The Planning Committee, separate from the Amendment Board, will decide whether to approve the division text amendments. These text modifications must also be approved by the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Council.

Anderson Communities’ Dennis Anderson said the city has long needed a youth sports complex. But various attempts over the years have failed. This will also help revitalize areas near Interstate 64 and Interstate 75.

“This would be clean, safe and well maintained,” Anderson said. This will promote health, fitness and youth sports and will enhance social interaction. After COVID and social distancing, this will help build community. “

Dick Murphy, an attorney for Anderson Communities and Lexington Sporting Club, told the board that 12 youth sports venues will host tournaments on weekends once or twice a month. People were entering the field from Newtown Pike via Providence Place Parkway.

He said there will be a second access road to the property but only for emergency vehicles.

There will be 750 parking spaces, more than the amount required under the zoning law.

Murphy said they need a lot of spaces to accommodate multiple teams playing at the same time. In addition, teams often show up early before the game, so additional parking is required.

“We’re not going to use Russell Cave Rod,” Murphy said.

The comprehensive plan for the city, which directs the development, calls for a large youth sports complex. However, previous attempts to locate one in Fayette County have been unsuccessful, Murphy said.

Vince Jabert, president of Lexington Athletic Club, said the group had searched extensively for a site that would accommodate the youth sports fields and stadium. Newtown Pike was the only site that worked. The group also responded to a request for proposals to develop a car park on High Street, opposite the Central Bank Centre. The group eventually withdrew its proposal from consideration.

Murphy said coach Kenny McPeak, who owns property adjacent to the proposed youth sports fields, supports the project.

But the property’s neighbors said they had many concerns and questions that went unanswered during the June 13 meeting.

The property is currently a training center for horses.

Mort Shirazi said trainers who have horses at the property were only told last month that their leases would be terminated. It’s too late to find a stall space to transport those horses. Furthermore, there are employees who live in the property or near the property that is to be uprooted.

“We received no explanation,” Shirazi said. “We have been misled by this group.”

Murphy said Anderson Communities has a third-party lease agreement for the training center. This third party leases the space to the coaches. He said that due to several legal issues, Anderson Communities would have terminated the lease with this third party regardless of what happened to the youth sports stadiums, he said.

Murphy said the location was ideal for youth sports fields and the stadium due to its proximity to two major thoroughfares.

But neighbors said traffic was already a problem.

Lisa Lowry of Spy Coast Farm said that traffic at the intersection of Newtown Pike, I-64 and I-75 is “nothing short of dangerous” at the moment.

“The amount of traffic this is going to generate is exorbitant,” Laurie said.

Barbara Poole owns Newton Station Layover, a “horse hotel,” in Newtown Pike. Paul said traffic returns to Newtown Pike around 4:30 p.m. when passengers try to get onto the highway.

“We had to stop traffic to get our trailers in,” Paul said. Paul said when there is an accident on the highway traffic clogs Newtown and Iron Works.

Other neighbors said things were moving too fast.

Jay Ingle, an attorney representing Fasig Tipton, asked the board to postpone making a decision during the June 13 meeting. Fasig Tipton is located next to the proposed youth football fields. He said the horse auction house had concerns about various aspects of the Lexington Sporting Clubs plans.

Anderson and Lexington Sporting Club introduced a new site plan on June 10. There are also various textual modifications related to the stadium and youth sports fields that have not yet been considered, Engel et al. said.

“This is not a small change. This is a big change in this area,” Engel said. Engel said Fasig Tipton had concerns about allowing lighting on the property and wanted to hear more details.

Brittany Rothemayer, executive director of the Fayette Alliance, which advocates for farmland owners, said the proposed youth sports fields and playground are too much business for an agricultural area.

“Furthermore, while outdoor recreational facilities are listed as conditional use permitted in the AR (agricultural) area, the language, in particular, does not include football fields,” Rothemeier said. “It is a major concern to surrounding agricultural operations.”

Mike Owens, a former planning committee member, agrees.

“It has a viable training center to it now. It’s not underutilized land,” Owens said. “Horses and extensive non-agricultural uses don’t mix.”

Anderson said it would take months for the division text modifications at the Youth Sports Arena and stadium to pass through the planning committee.

“There will be a huge opportunity for public contribution,” Anderson said.

Murphy said that if the Amendment Board approves the conditional use permit for the youth sports stadiums, Lexington Athletic Club hopes to begin using the fields as early as February. Lexington Athletic Club has recently taken over two youth football programs and has over 1,500 children in their programme.

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Beth Musgrave has covered government and politics for the Herald-Leader for more than a decade. She graduated from Northwestern University and has worked as a reporter in Kentucky, Indiana, Mississippi, Illinois, and Washington, DC.

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