Horse taking over the course: Waitsboro Hills golf course to be site of bourbon distillery

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The planned Horse Soldier Bourbon distillery will be built on what is now the Waitsboro Hills golf course. The 202-acre property is located on Slate Branch Road and overlooks Lake Cumberland.

Somerset City Council changed the wording of the city’s annexation ordinance to take into account that some properties cannot be used as residences. But the newly-approved annexation Horse Soldier Bourbon's new home won’t take advantage of those changes.

Council members voted unanimously to change the annexation ordinance to close up a loophole in the wording that indicated all property annexed into the city would start out zoned as Residential-1, or R-1, even if it had an existing business already on it.

In July, Somerset resident Monty Gover pointed out the problem with the wording in the annexation ordinance. It stated that all property annexed by the city would be “considered in the R-1 Zone or District unless otherwise changed.” That change would have to be made by a Planing and Zoning Board recommendation before the annexation process could proceed.

That means the ordinance could be interpreted to say that all of Somerset’s annexations within the last few years – including properties with gas stations, convenience stores, retail offices, entertainment venues and even in one case a funeral home – should have enter the city as a residential property because no rezoning process took place.

After the July meeting, City Attorney John Adams said the 30-year-old ordinance was written with the assumption that the city would be taking in “unimproved lands” such as farms. He added that in recent years, with more development taking place around the city’s boarders, it is more likely than not that an annexation request will come from a developed property.

The annexation ordinance will now read, “Any annexation of an improved property with a current use other than R-1 will be classified by the city council for current approved use in the annexation process. There does not need to be action by the Planning and Zoning Board.”

Soon after that action, however, was an annexation that will require Planning and Zoning to recommend a zoning change in the future.

The council approved unanimously to annex the future home of Horse Soldier Bourbon, which bought the former Waitsboro Hills Golf Course for its planned distillery.

The owners of Horse Soldier requested to be brought into the city limits, but as Adams explained, the 190-acres will start out zoned as R-1.

Since its use is being changed, Planning and Zoning will have to make a recommendation for zoning change at a later date, with Adams saying Horse Soldier’s owners are seeking a unit development-type zoning.

Adams said there were plans to create and add a new zoning designation for developments such as this, but after looking further, the owners now hope to be zoned under one of the city’s already existing designations.

The property is located around the area of West Ky. 914, with connections on Slate Branch Road and Old Monticello Road.

In other business, the council approved the closing of an abandoned section of what used to be Hope Way and agreed to give it to Dean Stewart, whose property surrounds the abandoned road.

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