Commission OKs Heaven Hill’s plan for new Cox’s Creek warehouse complex

The Joint City-County Planning Commission approved Heaven Hill Distilleries’ plan for a 10-rickhouse warehouse complex on Old Louisville Road.

Nelson County Gazette / WBRT Radio

Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2023 — Heaven Hill Distilleries’ plans for another barrel preserve in Cox’s Creek received unanimous approval Tuesday night from the Joint City-County Planning Commission.

The commission vote was to amend the existing Agriculture zoning on 161 acres owned by Shirley Holt to allow for the construction of up to 10 distilled spirits warehouses.

The project was presented by Jim Willett, an attorney with Saltsman, Willett, Deaton & Hamilton in Bardstown. He walked the commission through the company’s plans for the project. The project will include landscaping along the frontage on Old Louisville Road, and will follow the commission requirements for this specialized planned unit development use of land zoned for Agriculture.

The requirements include keeping any structures at least 200 feet from the property lines, and warehouses must be 400 feet from a neighbor’s primary residence.

The warehouses will be traditional rack-supported type, otherwise known as “rickhouses” that will be not be larger than 40,000 square feet and no taller than 60 feet tall.

The property will also include a pump house, a break room area, and storage space. A new entrance to the property will be built just north of the property’s existing driveway.

At least 25 percent of the property is designated for agricultural uses or designated as conservation areas.

The first conservation area is on the north end of the property and totals 26.75 acres. The second conservation area is on the south boundary of the property and consists of 14.25 acres.

Old Louisville Road resident Sharron Blincoe explains her opposition to placing the proposed warehouse complex near her home.

NEIGHBOR PUSH BACK. Several neighborhood property owners had pointed questions about the project and its impact on life along Old Louisville Road.

Old Louisville Court resident Betty Duerr questioned the increase in traffic and the ability of the highway to hold up to the heavy equipment that will be brought into the area.

Willett told Duerr that Old Louisville Road was formerly US31E, the main state-maintained north-south highway in Nelson County. The road was built to sustain much heavier traffic when it was the main north-south highway, he said.

Nearby resident William McFarland questioned the water service to the warehouse complex and it was sufficient for fire suppression. Willett explained that water for fire suppression would be stored at the property and would not require water pressure from the water line serving the farms in the area.

Tony Rebalais and several others asked about moving truck traffic back onto the road that it was moved from when the new US31E was built. Several were fearful of increased traffic accidents from the additional heavy truck traffic.

Willett told residents that right now, the company anticipates 10 semi trucks visiting the site daily once warehouses are completed, as well as the private vehicles for 6 or 7 employees who will be at the site as well.

The amount of traffic will still be significantly less than what it was when Old Louisville Road was US31E and the main north-south roadway into the county.

Sharron Blincoe told the commission that building whiskey warehouses on the proposed site would definitely change the character of her Cox’s Creek farm, and the increase in traffic would present a hazard to residents.

“I moved to Bardstown because my husband’s family was from here,” Blincoe told the commission.

“It was a beautiful country town, and now it’s whiskey warehouses. What a shame.”

The planning commission’s vote is a recommendation. Within the next 21 days, any aggrieved individual or legislative body (in this case, Nelson Fiscal Court) may ask the legislative body to review the recommendation and take final action to approve or deny the application.

If no additional action is requested within the 21 days, the commission’s recommendation becomes final.


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