By Beth Musgrave
The Lexington Sporting Club will soon have new youth soccer fields.
The Board of Adjustment voted Monday to approve a conditional use permit allowing for 10 youth soccer fields at Athens-Boonesboro Road near Interstate 75 on land zoned agriculture.
The board voted 4 to 2 to approve the 10 youth soccer fields on property currently owned by IVCP Athens South LLC. The property is behind the Speedway-SuperAmerica service station before the I-75 exit at 5354 Athens Boonesboro Rd.
The board agreed to put multiple conditions on the property including agreeing to review the conditional use permit after one year for possible light pollution, traffic impacts and stormwater issues. In addition, the group has agreed not to disturb a tree line on areas of the property that back up to a horse farm.
IVCP Athens South intends to lease the property to Lexington Sporting Club for its youth soccer program. That program has absorbed multiple youth soccer programs in the area and has more than 1,400 participants, said Stephen Ruschelle, a lawyer for IVCP Athens South LLC.
The property will have lights and parking for attendees of tournaments.
This is the second location Lexington Sporting Club has looked at for a potential site for a youth sports fields. The group originally considered property off of Newtown Pike. Due to opposition from area horse farms and Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton, that proposal was dropped.
Tom Miller, a lawyer for an adjacent horse farm, told the Board of Adjustment his client was worried lights and the traffic into the property would disturb the horses on his client’s farm. Miller also asked the group put an additional security fence so kids or pets won’t cross onto his client’s property.
Ruschelle said city planning staff had agreed the property had adequate trees on the property line and appropriate setbacks to protect the horse farm.
Linda Tucker, a board of adjustment member, disagreed. Tucker said she has seen dogs at youth sports fields and had concerns that those dogs may be able to get through the horse farm’s slated wood fences. Tucker said she felt that an additional security fence should be considered.
Tucker and Carolyn Plumlee voted against the conditional use permit. Plumlee tried to add additional restrictions to the conditional use permit but those conditions were ultimately not considered by the board.
In addition to the youth sports fields, Lexington Sporting Club is also looking for a place for a new soccer stadium. It still has an application pending for a zone text amendment to allow a stadium in the economic development zone for vacant property off of Newtown Pike.
A hearing on that proposal is scheduled for the Urban County Planning Commission on Sept. 22.
However, on its website Lexington Sporting Club has said it is looking at multiple locations for a stadium. The professional soccer club has said it will likely play at another field or stadium until its stadium is built. The proposed stadium will seat between 6,000 and 10,000 people and will take 18 months to two years to complete.
Board of Adjustment members who voted for the conditional use permit include: Chad Needham, Chad Walker, Raquel Carter and Harry Clarke.
Lexington Sporting Club has said they hope to start playing on the youth sports fields by spring 2023.
This article first appeared on Kentucky.com. Read the original here.