Estate planning and financial flexibility were the reasons Gainesway Farm sought permission June 13 from a county planning commission to subdivide a portion of its 1,500-acre farm into 10-acre tracts.
The Fayette County Planning Commission voted 5-4 to allow the Thoroughbred farm on Paris Pike to subdivide the land around 17 residential homes. As the vote indicates, Gainesway's request had opposition.
Bruce Simpson, an attorney representing landowners in another part of the county, said his clients opposed any move to create 10-acre lots in the rural areas because it would destroy the "rural flavor," according to published reports.
Fayette County's minimum rural lot size was set at 40 acres in 1999, but the change included a three-year exemption for single-family residential homes. The exemption expires in July.
Charlie Aker, vice president of Gainesway, said the concerns about the farm being turned into a residential subdivision are unfounded.
"The whole issue was to put a portion of the farm into the smallest tracts possible for estate planning for the Becks," Aker said. "They have children and they have grandchildren, so if they want to convey a house than it can be done without disrupting the farm. It also provides financial flexibility. We don't anticipate this, but if you wanted to you could mortgage a single home on the property."
Graham J. Beck of South Africa owns Gainesway. He bought the farm in 1989 from leading Kentucky breeder and Breeders' Cup founder John R. Gaines. The farm was 500 acres at the time.
The property being subdivided is only 15% of the farm's total acreage and does not affect several other homes, according to Aker.
"It has been blown out of proportion," he said. "The farm is not changing. These are only lines on a map."