Botland residents concerned about 182-acre Luxco bourbon warehouse project

Nelson County Gazette / WBRT Radio

Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2023 –– Botland residents had the chance to sound off at a recent special meeting of the Joint City-County Planning Commission about an 182-acre site in Botland for a proposed distilled spirits warehouse complex.

The tracts involved are in the heart of Botland and lie primarily between US150 Springfield Road to the north and Greer Lane and part of the Oak Knoll subdivision to the south.

Bardstown attorney Jim Willett represented Luxco — the parent company of Lux Row Distillers — and provided the commission and the public an overview of Luxco’s plans for the Botland property.

Luxco’s application is the first to appear before the planning commission since the county approved changes earlier this summer to the rules governing the location of distilled spirits warehouses.

Prior to the changes approved this summer by Nelson Fiscal Court, Luxco could have built its warehouse complex without a public hearing.

Luxco’s site plan includes five warehouses for the property, Per the new Planned Unity Development (PUD) rules, there must be a 200-foot buffer between warehouses and all property lines. The rules also require a 400-foot buffer between a warehouse and a residence on an adjoining property, Willett explained.

The overall zoning for the property remains agricultural. The changes Nelson Fiscal Court adopted this summer created a new PUD zoning designation expressly for whiskey warehouses on agricultural land.

The plan includes 48 acres for conservation and ag use. This 48-acre conservation easement will be along the perimeter of the property.

All warehouses will be built to current state building codes and include sprinklers for fire suppression. A water storage tank will be located on the property.

The site plan includes an area for future development. A future expansion will require a new application and require an additional public hearing.

Bourbon storage warehouses do not generate a great deal of traffic, Willett said. The tract will have a new entrance from Springfield Road across from the fire station.

PUBLIC FEEDBACK. Botland residents expressed their displeasure with Luxco’s plan to build a new bourbon storage facility in the middle of their community. Several cited environmental concerns, the spread of black mold, i.e. “whiskey fungus,” and increased highway traffic.

Poplar Flat Road resident Andrea Darby questioned if the warehouse complex was an appropriate addition to the Botland community.

“You’re plopping this huge industry in the middle of the surrounding urban/rural neighborhood. How is that maintaining the integrity and character of the surrounding area?”

Willett explained that a 250-home subdivision on that same property would be much more impactful to the community than the proposed warehouse complex.

Some at the hearing complained that they received no notice about the project and only heard about it on social media.

According to Jan Johnston-Crowe, only the adjacent property owners were notified of the proposal. The hearing was advertised in the local newspaper, and zoning change notices were posted on the property. Residents who did not adjoin the Luxco property would not receive notice.

Greer Lane resident Ann Reed said the project will bring black mold, otherwise known as “whiskey fungus” to the area, noting that the fungus is on everything around the Barton 1792 distillery.

“All of us chose to live in Botland because we picked the country life,” she said. “We do not want your rickhouses.

“You make all that money, but it doesn’t come back to Nelson County. You offer us nothing. All we see is bourbon.”

Former magistrate Sam Hutchins said he was concerned about the impact the warehouse complex might have on water pressure in the Greer Lane area, and asked if the company planned to upgrade water lines serving the property.

Other than filing the water tank on the property dedicated to fire suppression, Willett explained the complex won’t affect local water pressure.

Polley Drive resident Wilma Sorrell was very vocal in her opposition to the proposed warehouse complex, citing her concerns about construction and extra traffic in the area. She added that she felt like the approval of this project was already “a done deal.”

“I don’t want a warehouse in my backyard,” she said. “Our roads aren’t going to get better out there.”

NEXT MEETING. The planning commission will meet at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2023, to review the application and evidence, and possibly vote on a recommendation.

Only the planning commissioners who attended the public hearing will be able to vote on the application. No additional comments or evidence will be accepted at this meeting in regard to the Luxco application.

If Luxco’s application is recommended for approval, there is a 21-day window where an individual may request the governing body — in this case, Nelson Fiscal Court — to review the application for denial or approval. Fiscal Court may accept the existing testimony and exhibits the planning commission received, or it has the option of accepting new testimony.


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