A Lexington planning group signed off on the development of a new undisclosed restaurant on Richmond Road that had been held up over the razing of several trees on the property.
Under the development plan, some of those trees, including a 70-foot pin oak, will be cut down.
During a Sept. 9 Urban County Planning Commission meeting, city planners raised questions about cutting down the trees and proposed trying to save them. The planning commission postponed a final vote on the project for a month to give Louisville-based developer Hogan Real Estate time to work with city staff.
Hogan wants to put a restaurant on the property at 2891 Richmond Road, which is the current site of the Sunshine Grow shop and a two-story office building that will be torn down. The 4,000-square-foot building will have a drive-through. The name of the restaurant hasn’t been released.
The land, which is in front of the Lowe’s on busy Richmond Road, is zoned for a restaurant. The developers needed approval for a final site plan.
During Thursday’s planning commission meeting, city planners told the commission some of the trees, including the pin oak, are not healthy.
Since the September meeting, the pin oak tree has been assessed by several people, including a well-known arborist, Martin said.
“The tree is not healthy,” Martin said. “It has rot issues and other issues.”
The pin oak will have to come down.
Martin said Hogan Real Estate has agreed to plant more trees at the front of the property to offset the loss of the older trees. That’s been done in other areas on Richmond Road.
One of the burr oaks at the front of the property will be moved to a different part of the site. Burr oaks can live up to 300 years. Pin oaks do not live as long. They can also fall if they are not healthy, Martin said.
“They will exceed the tree canopy requirements,” Martin said.
The planning commission ultimately voted 8 to 3 to approve the plan. Opponents still questioned whether the trees could be saved.
Zach Davis, a planning commission member, voted to approve the development plan but said he wished the developer had come forward earlier with more information about the trees. Hogan did not initially provide a tree inventory as required.
“We have a process in place,” Davis said. “Had that process been followed, the plan would have been approved last month.”
This story was originally published October 15, 2021 7:07 AM.
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