Lighting concerns prompt residents to file lawsuit against Topgolf USA Louisville, LLC

Topgolf battle continues

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – Three families have filed a lawsuit to stop plans for lighting at the proposed Topgolf in Oxmoor Center.

The lawsuit was filed Monday by Stephen T. Porter on behalf of residents in two homes on Nottingham Parkway and one on Paddington Drive, against several defendants, including Topgolf USA Louisville, LLC; GGP Inc., Louisville and Metro Planning Commission and Louisville Metro Government.

The lawsuit alleges on Oct. 18 the Planning Commission approved the installation of outdoor lighting in excess of 1,800 lumens located at a height greater than 30 feet, the waiver of Section 4.1.3.B.2.c of the Louisville Metro Land Development Code to allow lighting fixtures that are not fully shielded and approved the Revised Detailed District Development Plan for the golf driving range and entertainment center.

The lawsuit states the decisions made on Oct. 18 were “made with insufficient and inaccurate evidence, were made with insufficient analysis, verification and circumspection by both the Planning Commission and the Planning Commission staff, were made in disregard of the Louisville Metro Comprehensive Plan and the Louisville Metro Land Development Code and were made in an arbitrary and capricious manner.”

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According to the suit, the residents “will lose the ability to enjoy their property in the way they are entitled because of the bright lighting from the Topgolf light fixtures. In addition, the value of their properties will diminish substantially.”

Greater Louisville Inc. released the following statement about the lawsuit:

“Once again, Steve Porter is profiting off of fear and trying to stifle Louisville’s growth. He is using the court system to try to stop or delay Topgolf and its 500 jobs, despite strong public support for the project. The residents that both oppose and support this project weighed in through 11+ hours of public hearings. The Planning Commission voted 9-0 to support Topgolf. A 6-1 vote by a Metro Council committee further affirmed the desire to move this project ahead. GLI will continue to advocate for exciting development projects like Topgolf at Oxmoor. We encourage all those across the Metro in favor to make their voices heard again. We can no longer let a small group of people hold meaningful, quality development hostage. We look forward to seeing Topgolf pass the full Metro Council this month, with construction to begin soon.” - Kent Oyler, President & CEO, Greater Louisville Inc.

"We're the ones that came here first," plaintiff Peggy Barber said. "We're the neighbors, we're the community of Hurstbourne. We want to preserve our character of Hurstbourne."

"We want Topgolf in Louisville," the attorney representing those who filed the lawsuit, Stephen Porter, said.

A call for a development, but under certain circumstances, Porter also made when representing those opposed to a West Louisville Walmart.

That project ultimately failed, but Porter said Passport Healthcare, which eventually moved in, is a bigger win.

“They’re going to have retail a pharmacy, a fitness center, instead of a Walmart,” Porter said. “Sounds like a real win for the city for me.”

Porter said he's not anti-growth, despite fighting a number of developments.

Greater Louisville Incorporated directly called out Porter in a statement.

“Yes, it would absolutely hurt us in trying to recruit similar venues and opportunities in the future,” GLI President Kent Oyler said.

Oyler added it wont be as easy for Porter to appeal Topgolf until it gives up, like he said happened with Walmart, because a more expensive appeal bond has been put in place.

"Which is a direct outcome of what happened at Walmart," Oyler said. "That was very unfortunate for West Louisville."

Oyler said he would like to see Louisville become more growth friendly as projects including Paristown Pointe, Park One, and developments in Floyd's Fork are seeing opposition.

Those filing the lawsuit said more decisions open to appeal will present themselves moving forward, and they plan on continuing to fight Topgolf.

Some who filed the lawsuit said they'd rather see another store in the old Sears building.

Porter said two companies listed on Topgolf applications are not registered with the Kentucky Secretary of State.

Porter adds that the lawsuit is being funded by those named on it, as well as, other individuals, who he did not name, that live in Hurstbourne and surrounding neighborhoods.

Topgolf’s attorney Cliff Ashburner released the following statement:

“Filing a lawsuit to preserve a worse lighting environment is an obvious delay tactic employed by three couples who refuse to accept the facts surrounding the Topgolf at Oxmoor Center plan. Our proposal will eliminate one million lumens of light output, lower the height of light sources, and add significant new landscaping obstructions between the site and Hurstbourne—improving the lighting environment at Oxmoor Center. Based on these facts, the Planning Commission lawfully and unanimously approved the overall proposal, including the lighting plan, lighting waiver, and detailed district development plan. Attempts to obstruct the proposal show this group’s lack of respect for the many Hurstbourne residents eagerly anticipating these improvements and send the wrong message about economic development in Louisville. The overwhelming majority of Louisville residents who support Topgolf at Oxmoor Center deserve better. The claims regarding whether the legal entities on the application are valid are simply another red herring.”

The full Metro Council is expected to take a final vote on possible re-zoning on Nov. 29.

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