Soccer stadium rezoning approved in Planning Commission, heading to council for final vote

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – The new location for the Lexington Sporting Club soccer stadium receiving approval from the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government’s Planning Commission Thursday night. That approval not without hesitation from some committee members and people living near the proposed location off Athens-Boonesboro Road.

“This soccer stadium belongs in Fayette county,” says Frank Penn on the Planning Commission. “We can debate where, we can debate how, we can debate how we protect what’s around it and what’s not around it.”

The area currently in question is a 406-acre plot off Athens-Boonesboro Rd next to I-75. This is the Lexington Sporting Club’s third location for a soccer stadium in Fayette county. First, requesting to be in the lot across from Rupp Arena then in agricultural land between Newtown Pike and Russell Cave Road.

“We didn’t come up with the idea of having the stadium here on our own. Long ago, the Blue Sky activity center was established and this area is supposed to be developed,” says Steve Ruschell, attorney for the Lexington Sporting Club.

Thursday, the Lexington Sporting Club filed to have the stadium off Athens-Boonesboro re-zoned so more amenities like restaurants, a bank, medical offices and a training facility could all be on the same property. Some committee members say it makes sense to have all of these things in one place but they worry about the unspoken impacts the development could have.

“I find it personally disturbing that on some, what, close to approximately 50 or more acres that we couldn’t find a single tree to remain?” says Robin Michler. “I am struggling with this development plan.”

People from surrounding neighborhoods of the proposed stadium are concerned about the increase in traffic and the lights that will shine into their homes. Supporters counter these concerns by highlighting conditions the facility will follow to alleviate these problems like pointing the lights at the ground, not allowing games before 7 A.M. or after 11 P.M., having a tree canopy to dampen noise and installing another traffic light in the area.

“In every situation that we’ve worked through so far, it’s been the vocal minority of folks that are more ‘not in my backyard’ type syndrome, rather than the community as a whole because I can tell you, our 2900 season ticket deposits we’ve held, and our 1400 hundred families that are part of our youth club, they are excited,” says Vince Gabbert, Lexington Sporting Club president.

The motions passed the committee and will now move to the Urban County Council.

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