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Lexington planning commission OKs soccer stadium rezoning

Council Presentation

Rebooted plans for a 6,500-seat soccer stadium won their first goal with a Lexington planning commission vote in favor of a zone change on Thursday, but controversy continues to dog the project.

After two previous proposals fell through, the Lexington Sporting Club is now eying property off Athens-Boonesboro Road for its long-sought-after stadium.

Club president Vince Gabbert told the Urban County Planning Commission the project makes sense given increasing interest in the sport. He said it’s time Lexington follow the lead of other cities in the region that have beefed up their soccer offerings.

"It's definitely something that doesn't currently exist within our market and we feel like that, given where we stand and where we're headed, the quality and level of the facilities that we're working to build and trying to get approved, it would be a very positive impact on our community," he said.

But the effort is drawing complaints, some familiar and some new. Neighbors and concerned residents pointed to potential impacts on the surrounding rural area.

"The proposed zoning will adversely affect the aesthetic character of the Athens-Boonesboro Road gateway," speaker James Hodge said. "The noise, lighting, lighting, and traffic generated by the proposed development will adversely affect the surrounding properties, including Ashley Woods subdivision and adjacent horse farms."

Other skeptics worried aloud about a “bait and switch,” maintaining the zoning change is too broad and could open up the area for further or different kinds of unwanted development.

Approval of the zone change by the planning commission is just one step, however. The matter now goes to the full Urban County Council, which has the authority to pull the plug on the rezoning request if it chooses.

Josh James fell in love with college radio at Western Kentucky University's student station, New Rock 92 (now Revolution 91.7). After working as a DJ and program director, he knew he wanted to come home to Lexington and try his hand in public radio.