Group appeals adjustment board decision on proposed Lexington soccer complex

Controversy still lingers over the proposed plans for soccer fields, and ultimately a soccer stadium, to go up near Newtown Pike in Lexington.
Published: Jul. 27, 2022 at 12:56 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Controversy still lingers over the proposed plans for soccer fields, and ultimately a soccer stadium, to go up near Newtown Pike in Lexington.

A month ago, the Urban County Board of Adjustments approved a conditional use to re-zone the area, which was designated an agricultural-rural zone.

The Fayette Alliance has filed a legal appeal against the vote.

In a statement, the alliance said the proposal “threatens Lexington’s signature agricultural and equine industries by reversing course on the historic land-use precedent that protects the land they depend on.”

There has been strong opposition from people who live in the area about the complex going up in the spot owned by Anderson Properties.

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During a lengthy and heated board of adjustments meeting last month, neighbors spoke out about the development, while those in support cited the potential economic development and opportunities for young athletes.

The Lexington Sporting Club has filed plans to build a 6,000-seat stadium and the youth soccer complex with 12 fields and 750 parking spots between Newtown Pike and Russell Cave Road. It’s land a horse farm sits on now, and land surrounded by many other farms.

We spoke to the executive director of the Fayette Alliance Wednesday afternoon about their concerns and why they filed the appeal.

“Our agriculture directly contributes $2.3 billion to our local economy every year, and supports one out of every 12 jobs. So when we’re making policy decisions that impact, that impacts the entire community,” said Brittany Roethemeier, the executive director of Fayette Alliance.

The candidates for Lexington mayor have also weighed in on the plans for the soccer complex. Last week, Mayor Linda Gorton wrote an op-ed saying she believes the club’s proposal does not reflect long-term thinking about the area, and urged the club to listen to the concerns and work to find a better solution.

“Some agricultural uses for example, cattle operations, equine operations, are probably not compatible with lights and a lot of noise,” Gorton said.

Gorton said she is all for the Sporting Club, and has had conversations and believes there are better options to build.

“This is about, I think, compromise but also working together to find the best fit for this,” Gorton said.

Gorton’s opponent, David Kloiber, told us Wednesday that he worries the pushback may lead the Sporting Club to walk away.

“In this particular case we have something that is basically a once-in-a-lifetime situation where we are going to be providing a new amenity and a new tourism attractor into our city,” Kloiber said.

Kloiber said there is a desert in that area for activities for children, and the complex would fix that.

“It’s a really good fit to help us grow intentionally, without taking away from the uniqueness of our city,” Kloiber said.

WKYT reached out to the Lexington Sporting Club for a comment. They did not have one on the appeal, but have previously said they are fully committed to being worthy neighbors to the community.

The complex was supposed to be discussed on Thursday during a Lexington Division of Planning Meeting, however, that has been pushed back to September.

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