Several items to be voted on Thursday at Louisville Topgolf meeting

Topgolf rendering

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – After months of laying the groundwork in writing, attorneys head to court Thursday to argue over Louisville Metro government’s approval of Topgolf’s proposed golf-and-entertainment complex at Oxmoor Center.

A hearing is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. before Jefferson Circuit Court Judge Ann Bailey Smith.  

Dallas-based Topgolf wants to build its first Kentucky project at Oxmoor where a vacant department store now stands. The 62,103-square-foot building would have more than 100 climate-controlled hitting bays and a net-enclosed driving range with 175 foot-tall poles. 

Six people who live in Hurstbourne have filed lawsuits over various aspects of city government approvals that occurred last fall.

First, the Louisville Metro Planning Commission unanimously voted last October to recommend that the Metro Council allow land at Oxmoor to be rezoned and sign off on other permits and exemptions for the project. Then, last November, the council voted 20-3 to grant those approvals.

But the residents claim the council relied on “insufficient and inaccurate evidence” and did not follow local land-use rules. For example, they claim Topgolf’s proposal doesn’t fit with city requirements that buildings be compatible with surrounding homes.

And they argue that the applications filed with the planning commission were flawed because some of the companies involved in the project didn’t use their real names and weren’t properly registered to do business in Kentucky.

As a result, the Topgolf process included “inaccurate and improper applications made by illegal and non-existent applicants,” the Hurstbourne neighbors’ attorney, Steve Porter, wrote in a March filing.

The six residents -- Peggy L. and Bryan C. Barber; Gerald J. and Helen M. Nicolas; and Sheila M. and David J. McLaughlin – are among the closest Hurstbourne residents to Oxmoor.

They filed a separate lawsuit last November, before the council’s vote, over Topgolf’s lighting plan. That suit alleged the proposed light system doesn’t follow city guidelines that require developers to mitigate “adverse impacts” from lights on the night sky and require buffers between residential areas, for example.

The two lawsuits have been combined.

Topgolf and other defendants in the lawsuits, including Louisville Metro government, deny all those allegations and argue that the planning commission and Metro Council “ultimately concluded that substantial evidence supported the Topgolf applications.”

They claim more than 4,400 pages of documents were filed and cite public hearings that lasted more than 11 hours.

“The actions were well within the authority of the two bodies, were supported by overwhelming evidence and were reached after an exhaustive process in which all parties were given an opportunity to be heard,” they wrote.

It’s expected to take Topgolf 18 months to secure all the permits and build the Oxmoor project.

Previous coverage:

Metro Council approves Topgolf's plan for Oxmoor

SUNDAY EDITION | Oxmoor or bust: Topgolf pitch for mall heads to 18th hole

Lawsuit: Metro Council approved Topgolf using ‘inaccurate evidence’

Topgolf at Oxmoor makes the cut, clears planning commission

Oxmoor neighbors say judge should void Topgolf approvals due to flawed applications

Reach reporter Marcus Green at 502-585-0825, mgreen@wdrb.com, on Twitter or on Facebook. Copyright 2019 WDRB Media. All rights reserved.

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Marcus Green joined WDRB News in 2013 after 12 years as a staff writer at the Louisville Courier-Journal. He reports on transportation, development and local and state government.