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City commission approves first reading on annexation of 122 acres

Family farm on Ashgrove Road proposes split between zoning for county, single family and multi family homes

The Nicholasville City Commission approved a first reading for the annexation of 122 acres into city limits on Ashgrove Road last month.
The City Commission passed the first reading with a 4 to 1 vote, with City Commissioner Patty Teater voting against the annexation.
At a meeting held on Nov. 12, Planning and Zoning Administrative Officer Dean Anness said the committee expressed reservations about originally not annexing 34 acres along with the 88 acres submitted in the application. Although the committee did unanimously recommend the annexation of the 88 acres into the city of Nicholasville, after the meeting, the annexation committee was notified that the owner of the property was now willing to annex the entire farm immediately, 88 acres plus the 34 acres, into the city of Nicholasville pending an amended application.
The zone changes for the 88 acres will remain unchanged. The applicant requested A1 county, R1 D city single family residential district and R3 city multifamily residential district. The zone request for the 34 acres is A1 city.
“The entire 122 acres, we are not leaving out the 34?” City Commissioner Alex Carter asked.
“That is correct,” Anness said.
City Commissioner Patty Teater asked how many units would be involved in the development. Anness stated about 250 high-end apartments, 140 senior living and 140 single family homes.
“My concern is staffing for our first-responders and our police and fire,” Teater said. “I had reached out to Chief Justice and Case to see where we stood currently.”
Anness said both chiefs were at the meeting held earlier that month and spoke on the matter.
“The official number from the FBI is 2.4 officers per 1,000 residents,” Nicholasville Police Chief Todd Justice said. “With the population we have currently in the City of Nicholasville, not including the annexation or developments in process, the population is 30,000. Doing the quick math, that is 74.4 officers we should have. We are currently at 67 so we are seven officers behind.”
Justice said he told commissioner Teater he is not opposed to development and annexation, but that the commission needed to consider that any development on the books that is coming is going to increase that gap. Blackford said it was discussed to possibly look at what the apartments and senior living communities are bringing in to help fund future developments and the city’s public safety department..
Teater wanted to know if the owners were planning on developing the property themselves and was told they were not, which she then asked if the purpose of annexation was to increase the number of housing to make their profits larger.
Teater was told the annexation was requested because of supply and demand.
“I just want to make sure that I understand this correctly Dean, an R3 zone would allow for a trailer park?” Teater asked.
After being told no, Teater referenced the planning and zoning book stating R3 allows multifamily and trailer parks.
“Anything would have to approved by the planning commission and the city commission,” Anness said.
Alex Carter agreed, asking, “Historically, when was the last time the city approved a trailer park?”
Teater said, “If they were developing this property, I would feel better about this request, but it is simply for sale and we don’t know what is going to be brought in at that point. I know it has to go before the planning commission, I get that. But at that point, this has already been done. Another issue I have with it, it talks about what percentage of the building is going to be brick or stone, and once again it is undecided. There are so many things up in the air with this request, I just don’t see a reason why we would annex it just because we are asked to annex it.”
Teater mentioned once again the staffing issues with police and fire departments in Nicholasville, before showing those in attendance a map which highlighted properties which have been annexed into city limits and have yet to be developed.
“If all of these properties start to be developed at the same time, we are in a world of trouble,” Teater said. “I think we need to maybe cool our jets a little bit and think about what we are doing here.”
Blackford said he did not disagree with Teater at all, but the owner did bring the commission a proposal they had been accepting for the last five years.
“We made it clear six years ago we were not going to accept any more trailer parks and we haven’t done that. This board right here makes that final decision. We control that so that doesn’t worry me at all from that stand point.”
Anness said many of the developments that have been approved have expired as far as construction, so a new plan would have to be brought before the board for approval before anything could be built on previously annexed land.
“The zoning is set, I agree with that,” Anness said.
“I am all for if we want to change the game, again that is what our role is,” Blackford said. ‘But we just need to communicate that.”
Access to the 88 acres will be from East Brannon. The access to the 34 acres will be off of Ashgrove Road. Even though the current owners of the property are annexing the 34 acres, they will still occupy the property on the 34 acres as a family home.
“I would feel better if there was (another access) to Ashgrove,” Teater asked.
“I am just going to state right now. I will absolutely be opposed to this if it does not have access coming out to Ashgrove. I am just one vote but that is my concern.”