Neighbors work to find ‘intelligent compromise’ in new development

Published 3:35 pm Tuesday, December 12, 2023

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Residents of a Nicholasville neighborhood rushed to organize when they received a notice regarding a zone change the week before Thanksgiving.

According to the city’s letter of notification sent out to adjoining property owners, Keene 169 LLC (located at Waller Avenue in Lexington) had applied for a zone change for 21.62 acres of property at 1281 Keene Road from A-1 (central agriculture) to B-1 ( central business).

The development would be situated right next to the Minnow Cove Court Neighborhood, with three restaurants, a coffee shop, a grocery store, a bank, a hotel, a gas station, a fitness center, and a few different buildings dedicated to retail and office space all fit into the 21-acre plot.

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The request for the zone change was heard before the Nicholasville Planning Commission in a special called meeting on Monday, December 11th, at 7 p.m. in the community room of the city police station at 717 North Main Street in Nicholasville.

Mark Whitworth has been a homeowner in Minnow Cove Court for about five years, and he said residents of Minnow Cove Court, Squires Way, and Keene Road have been meeting since receiving the notification from the city.

Whitworth said he hopes an “intelligent compromise can be reached. The bottom line is we want to be supportive. We’re all residents of Nicholasville. We’re certainly not anti-growth. We want to see if there is some opportunity to reach some of these compromises to establish a significant buffer zone, maybe to relocate the hotel.”

He suggested a permanent structure like a concrete wall between the development and the neighborhood.

His neighbor, Andrew Fore, has lived in the neighborhood since the development constructed its first few homes. It’s been about 15 years.

Fore told the Jessamine Journal several concerns about the development he and the neighborhood hold.

“Everybody that chose to build and invest significant money in this neighborhood, some of the main things were the beauty of it, the safety and security of it, and the location of it. And when you look at the proposed development, all of those things get called into question immediately because it is such a densely packed development, and the proposed businesses going in there are not ones that typically provide a lot of safety and security.”

Fore said that if a hotel is right up against the backyards of his neighborhood, “What’s to prevent whatever’s going on at the hotel and the gas station and the other businesses from walking into our backyards?”

One of the other major concerns is traffic.

“The intersection at 27 and 169 is already a horrible traffic nightmare at peak hours as is, with the current traffic flow, and then you’re gonna put a 22-acre commercial development in there with retail and gas and everything else, and that is not gonna do anything except exacerbate an already difficult situation,” Fore said.

He added that the ambulatory center across the street from the development will be affected by what he calls a “traffic nightmare. Traffic is already backed up during peak times past their entrance, and if you have all this other traffic, that’s a concern for people trying to get to the emergency room.”

Fore said this won’t worsen traffic for the area’s residents but for anyone who takes Highway 27 to Highway 169 in and out of Nicholasville.

“We all have day jobs and are living our lives, so we’re just trying to get caught up to speed and try to understand the best way to address a situation like this,” Whitworth said