Wilmore City Council hears proposal to annex 590 acres of Bicknell farm

Published 11:52 am Thursday, November 29, 2018

Wilmore City Council heard a proposal last week to annex 590 acres of land owned by the Bicknell family into Wilmore city limits.

“There is no question that the property boarders significantly along the existing city limits,” Robert Gullette Jr. said. “Statutorily, it is approvable for annexation. The question that I know each of you will have is why the city should annex this property. The reason is, I believe this is a win-win proposition.”

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Two tracts of land were presented for annexation. The first tract is 451 acres with the other potentially adding 141 acres to the city.

“This request is rather simple, but we acknowledge that the request is significant,” Gullette said.

Gullette told the city council the idea for the annexation was brought to Peggy Bicknell’s attention after a conversation with her estate planner.

Although the family has no plans to do anything with the property at this point, they still wish to approach the council for annexation as an agricultural zone, Gullette said.

“In the future, five years or 25 years (from now), if they approach the city to change the zone on any portion of this property, they have to first start with the planning commission and a public hearing,” Gullette said. “Once the planning commission makes a recommendation, it then comes before the city and you all have the final say.”

Gullette said approval of the annexation of the 590 acres of land would allow the city council to be able to greatly influence what the planning commission will do with the property when that time comes.

One example Gullette gave to support the annexation was the 42 acres of land across from Harrodsburg Road and the Roseglade Farm in Wilmore.

“(This is) one perfect example of how property not being in the city does detour its development but yet does not benefit when developed,” Gullette said.

This was brought before the council in 2016 after three men proposed a change to the development plan which was originally approved in 1997.

The plan at that time had 175 houses on the property. In the new proposal, the houses would be moved to the northern most corner, closer to the Y intersection, thus moving the conservation easement of about 100 acres of protected green space to the southern part of the farm.

When proposed to the council two years ago, the 1997 development plan for the Roseglade Farm would still be a part of the designing features of the new 2016 request.

Stipulations such as lot sizes, house sizes and other factors would also remain the same.

“(This property) clearly touches the city yet it is not in the city. That property now has been rezoned to residential,” Gullette said.

By approving the annexation of the Bicknell family farm’s 590 acres, the city would be gaining the best of both worlds, Gullette said.

“We are not going to be beating your door down for a zone map amendment,” Gullette said. “We have no idea if ever that request will be made, but when that does happen, you will have the final say so on zoning. You will have the final say so on the development plan that will be brought before you. Because, ultimately, if you do not like the development plan, you do not approve the zoning. You all ultimately have the final trump card.”

Mayor Harold Rainwater ended the presentation by reminding everyone present that the presentation is part of new business before the council, therefore no decision was made.

“You have brought us some opportunities, I will admit,” Rainwater said.