The Harrodsburg-Mercer County Joint Planning and Zoning Commission approved the annexation of the Wilkinson Farm property by the City of Harrodsburg.
On Tuesday, Nov. 14, the planning and zoning commission held a hearing for public comments on the proposed annexation and re-zoning of 1,317 acres of land into the Harrodsburg city limits. According to Shawn Moore, the director of planning and zoning, the property is the Wilkinson Farm, which is located between Bohon Road and Jackson Pike, east of the Norfolk Southern railway to US 127 in Harrodsburg.
The city commission will have to vote to annex the property. They previously tabled a vote until the public hearing could be held. No one spoke at the hearing Tuesday.
The commission voted to recommend annexing the entire property, not just the 950 acres purchased by the city and Mercer County, which will be the site of a proposed industrial park. Moore said the Harrodsburg-Mercer County Industrial Development Authority, which is serving as the bonding agent for the proposed industrial park, asked for the land to be rezoned for I-2 (heavy industrial).
Kendall Wise of Vantage Engineering asked about the rezoning.
“Are you making it easier to create a solar farm?” Wise asked.
Moore said current ordinances only allow for solar in agricultural districts. “It would not open that door,” Moore said.
He said there are no agricultural districts in the city, so the annexed property would have to be reassigned according to the city planning and zoning ordinance.
Judge-Executive Sarah Steele said the Mercer County Fiscal Court had already consented. In August, the fiscal court and the city commission voted to enter a purchase agreement with Louisville Gas and Electric Company and Kentucky Utilities Company to buy the southern portion of the farm, 858 acres, with the potential to buy another 100 acres on the northern portion. The sale total amounts to $22 million. Steele said the city and county won’t own that until the spring, but they needed the city to annex the property.
“If we wait, we won’t be able to apply for federal funding in the spring,” Steele said. She said KU had consented to the rezoning.
“It doesn’t really matter to them,” Steele said. “They don’t care; they don’t follow any of our zoning anyway.”
After the public hearing concluded, Commissioner Jerry Catlett moved to approve the annexation. His motion passed unanimously.