A Lexington-based company is seeking a zoning change for the Versailles Road property that formerly housed the Frankfort Country Club, but plans for the land no longer include a townhome development.
“The townhomes were included as a previous concept plan. That’s been amended and the up-to-date concept plan no longer includes the townhomes,” Frankfort’s Director of Planning and Community Development Director Eric Cockley testified at Thursday’s Frankfort/Franklin County Planning Commission public hearing.
The concept plan for 452 Versailles Road originally sought approval for a zoning change for the back part of the 3.62-acre property to High Density Multifamily, which would have allowed the 40-unit townhouse development. The three existing structures on the property — a main brick building constructed in 1949, a secondary building with 5,770 total square feet and a 3,285-square foot warehouse — were to be razed.
However, according to Frankfort attorney Charlie Jones, who represented property owner Kip Co. LLC at the hearing, there have been amendments to the concept plan, which now proposes retail development.
“The proposal is to take down the front building, which was the old country club building, and leave the two back buildings,” he testified. “So there are no plans to have the townhomes constructed. Obviously, if it were ever to come up in the future, it must come back before the commission to see if it could be appropriately developed.”
The conceptual plans for Brighton Park Heights met with opposition from numerous neighbors who are concerned about the possibility of a back access point to the property in their neighborhood.
“Breckenridge Avenue extends from Old Country Lane through two blocks of the Bon Air subdivision where the pavement ends at a locked gate,” wrote Fairview Drive residents John and Anne Colly Rose in a letter entered as public comment.
“To remove the gate and allow access over Breckenridge Avenue to the apartment complex and on into the Brighton Park shopping center would disrupt the safe, tranquil, single-family residential neighborhood which currently exists.”
Jones replied that “at no time have we ever considered, thought about” any access to Breckenridge Avenue.
“That’s not part of the plans and never will be part of the plans,” he added. “We have looked at access to that private road that leads over to Brighton Park Boulevard as an exit out the back, and we have talked to the owner of the majority of that property about that access and improving that road.”
Public comments were not read at the hearing but were distributed to the members of the commission prior to the meeting and were obtained by The State Journal.
In its amended application, Kip Co. LLC is seeking a zoning change from Limited Commercial District (CL) to General Commercial District (CG).
While both zoning districts share several permissible land uses, the difference between the two is that more intense retail and service uses are allowed in General Commercial that aren’t permitted in Limited Commercial, according to Cockley.
“For instance, regarding drive-thrus, they aren’t permitted in CL and are in CG districts,” he explained. “Essentially this would be one step up in the ladder, if you will, in terms of intensification of zoning districts.”
But at least one nearby resident fears that granting the zoning change would be the first in a series of bad decisions.
“Changing the class from CL to CG is the first step down the slippery slope,” wrote Bud Dozier, who said he checked the property valuation administrator’s map for the zoning of the Versailles Road property before making an offer and moving into the home next door to the proposed retail development last year.
“In a year or two we will be back to the request for High Density Multifamily District or some other classification that will adversely effect Bon Air properties.”
Traffic flow — primarily vehicles turning left in or out of the proposed retail development onto Versailles Road — was a concern raised by planning commission member Paul Looney, who worried that at peak times the thoroughfare is crowded.
However, Jones said that a study conducted at the site found that traffic would not be significantly impacted by the addition of Brighton Park Heights.
He added that many of the public comments concerned development plan issues.
“I do believe the vast majority will be addressed at the development plan stage and I do believe we can accommodate all their concerns,” Jones said.
The planning commission unanimously agreed to vote on the application and findings at its next meeting in January. A date and time for the meeting have yet to be determined.