Monday, September 10, 2018

EDA to seek industrial zoning of 138 acres of farmland between Midway Station and new whiskey warehouses

EDA Chair John Soper, left, and new Midway member Michael Michalsin, right, talked during today's meeting.
The Woodford County Economic Development Authority voted Monday to seek light-industrial zoning of 138 acres of agricultural property, on which it has an option, next to the Midway Station industrial park.

The property is owned by Homer Freeny Jr., who has asked that the property be marketed in parcels of at least 40 acres, said EDA Chair John Soper. He said, "We're not trying to compete with our own property in Midway Station," on which developer Dennis Anderson has an option.

Soper said the property is in the Midway urban services boundary, as defined in the county's comprehensive plan, and is "a piece of agricultural land that's in the middle of commercial and industrial users." The tract to the north and east is the site of recently built and planned Brown-Forman Corp. whiskey warehouses, which the Planning Commission allowed under a conditional-use permit in an agricultural zone because whiskey is made from grain.

The application notes that the property has all utilities available and is in the Workplace/Employment Land Use District, which is intended for uses that create employment opportunities. That is a goal of the comprehensive plan, as is industrial development.

The City of Midway has not annexed the property, so the final zoning decision will be up to the Woodford County Fiscal Court, Planning Director Pattie Wilson noted. The application says, "It is anticipated that the property will be annexed by the City of Midway prior to the sale to any industrial users."

Today's meeting was the first for new EDA member Michael Michalsin of Midway, whom the City Council appointed last month to fill the city's seat on the board. Michalsin is a former Wall Street brokerage firm employee who moved to Midway five years ago and started Timber Fence Capital, a venture-capital investment business that bought Bob Mickler's equine-supply store in Lexington.

In another zoning matter, the commission will consider at 6:30 p.m. Thursday an application by EDA and Anderson to rezone 75 acres in Midway Station from residential to industrial. The change would be the last major step in the property's re-conversion to industrial; Anderson had planned a commercial and residential development, but that changed after the Great Recession and a succeeding resurgence of interest in the property by industrial users.

The story available via the link in the paragraph above has a labeled aerial photo diagram of the area. Here is the map filed with the rezoning application, labeled to show the Freeny tract, which is in two sections joined by a 100-foot-wide strip. To see or download a larger version, click on the map.

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