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Monday, January 3, 2022

Board of Adjustment denies RV resort's request to treat its own sewage; attorney Graddy says 'This is not over'

Photo by Alex Slitz of the Lexington Herald-Leader shows part of the property proposed for the recreational-vehicle resort.
By Al Cross
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Media

The Woodford County Board of Adjustment voted 4-1 tonight to deny the Kentucky Bluegrass Experience Resort's request that its conditional-use permit be changed to allow it to install its own sewage-treatment plant. Proponents of the proposal said their efforts would continue, perhaps in court.

"I believe that the facts that the board has relied on were not supported by the evidence, so we will consider challenging this decision," said Hank Graddy of Midway, attorney for the resort. "And we may make a return visit to the City Council. But I assure you that this is not over."

The Midway City Council voted 6-0 against extending sewer and water service to the resort, which would be located on either side of South Elkhorn Creek. The resort can get water directly from Kentucky-American Water Co., and Graddy said in a piece for the Lexington Herald-Leader that the package sewage-treatment plant it wants to use "will meet wastewater treatment standards that meet or exceed the Midway sewage-treatment plant."

The sole vote against the motion to deny the resort's request was cast by Lonnie Estes. Midway's board member, Bart Shockley, seconded the motion and voted for it as four of the six City Council members and about 25 other people looked on. Shockley was reported to be out of town when the board held its public hearing, but he said he had studied the minutes and meeting materials.

There was no discussion of the motion, perhaps because that could provide grounds for a lawsuit to overturn the decision. Before the motion, Chair Tim Turney said, " Everything we do will be based on the record." Board Member David Prewitt's motion cited "public health and safety" as the reason. Prewitt was one of three members who voted last month to delay a decision for more study.

The mayors of Midway, Versailles and Georgetown, the Scott County judge-executive and the head of Georgetown's water system had sent the board a letter opposing the resort's request. Midway Mayor Grayson Vandegrift said at last month's hearing that fast-growing Scott County had spent $20 million to clean up problems left by poorly performing package plants, and he objected to the resort's plan to have the plant operated remotely by a certified operator. Graddy said the plant would be "state of the art" and developer Andrew Hopewell would build a home on the creek downstream from it.

The resort has a conditional-use permit, issued by the board in May, to operate a "tourism destination expanded" in an agricultural zone. The site is the former Mitchell farm, the southern part of which will be the site of a tourism-oriented distillery and has been annexed by the city. 

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