LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – The Louisville Planning Commission voted unanimously in favor of moving forward with plans to build Topgolf at a former Sears.
The commission met Thursday where they approved the conditional use permit and variances, including netting poles, at the vacant store in Oxmoor Center.
Some people in nearby neighborhoods strongly opposed the location of the proposed Topgolf. They said the Planning Commission’s vote is not a done deal.
“There is an innate bias that the planning commission has towards development and I think that that showed in today’s discussion,” Steven Porter, representing the opposing neighbors, said. “I think that is why we have to rely on the Metro Council to bring the people into the discussion.”
The commission will send the recommendation to change the zoning from C1 to C2 commercial to Metro Council.
Porter said regardless of the decision, this could likely end up in court.
“It’s been a little more challenging here than other places,” Tanner McKelly, Director of Real Estate for Topgolf, said.
Tanner has been a part of the process in Louisville since it began in February.
An opposing neighbor proposed a nearby alternative site Wednesday, but Topgolf said they are only interested in the former Sears location at Oxmoor Center.
"Topgolf will place Oxmoor Center at the leading edge of the evolution of the shopping center, and they will have a broad reaching impact.” Kendall Merrick, Oxmoor Center General Manager, said.
Merrick said Oxmoor Center owns the building that housed Sears and it is not a part of the company's bankruptcy proceedings.
Many of the planning commissioners said the declining state of malls should be considered in the Topgolf decision.
“Don’t let this happen in your neighborhood; it is horrendous,” Porter said. “I have seen Topgolf in other communities.”
Next, the Planning Commission’s vote will go to Metro Council. The process is done with a public hearing.
“All we can do is take it one step at a time,” McKelly said. “We feel like we provide good testimony and we look forward to the next steps.”
The development has a broad impact, and both sides are encouraging proponents and opponents to contact their council representatives.
"You can see the poles for miles,” Porter said. “It [Topgolf] will change Shelbyville Road, Hurstbourne, Lyndon, St. Matthews, Bellemeade, and the Norwood area forever and ever.”
Metro Council representatives said this will likely be heard before the end of the year.