Ahead of what may be another long meeting on Oct. 15, representatives for the Topgolf development filed a new waiver, asking the Louisville Metro Planning Commission to allow its noncompliant lighting.
The waiver will likely be another point of contention for those who oppose Topgolf developing at Oxmoor Center.
“Metro Louisville’s codes regarding lighting contain a contradiction that does not accommodate sports or recreational field lighting. That contradiction was highlighted in Monday’s hearing,” Clifford Ashburner, an attorney with Dinsmore & Shohl who represents Topgolf, said in an emailed statement.
“City code requires all light fixtures producing more than 3,500 lumens (the equivalent of 3, 75-watt bulbs) to be fully shielded. Since fully-shielded recreational lighting is not commercially available for athletic field lighting, there is obvious difficulty meeting this requirement, and that is not the intent of the code,” Ashburner said in the statement.
Ashburner also notes that the advanced technology, directional LED lighting planned for the Topgolf facility at Oxmoor Center would reduce the existing light output by more than one million lumens. “This is a substantial reduction in light and should be welcomed,” according to the statement.
Friday afternoon, Steve Porter, the attorney representing the Topgolf opposition group, emailed a below statement to Insider:
The neighbors and citizens of the area who oppose Topgolf at this location, but do not oppose it at a suitable location far from residences, are strongly opposed to this waiver. First, there is no contradiction in the Code. That safeguard is put there for a reason — to protect the public from light glare and keep the sky dark. The proposed sixteen light fixtures emit 58,000 lumens apiece and will be aimed at a residential subdivision where the light will invade yards and windows in hundreds of homes and at a public street where drivers may be blinded by the glare.
A waiver of this protective regulation would be possible in two scenarios:
1. Where no residential areas are affected by this invasive light, as would be the case here, or
2. Where an athletic field only hosts a few events per year and lights are off by the Code-required time of 11 p.m., rather than this case where the lights would be on 365 nights a year, where play lasts until 2 a.m., and where the lights stay on even later than that.
But this application does not meet either of those situations and should be denied.
Residents who are against the project have said that they believe the development will generate too much noise, light and traffic, negatively impacting those who live close by. Those in favor of Topgolf have accused the opposition of NIMBY-ism, saying that the residential areas are far enough away as not to be impacted significantly.
Residents on both sides showed up en masse this past Monday to tell the Planning Commission why they should or should not approve Topgolf’s zoning change request, variance and waiver.
Topgolf’s plan calls for a 62,103-square-foot entertainment center with 102 hitting bays where customers can sip drinks and eat food, while whacking golf balls into the practice range, listening to music and watching television.
In a statement released Friday afternoon, the chamber of commerce Greater Louisville Inc. restated its support for Topgolf’s plans.
“It is time we move past parochial thinking and embrace a highly sought-after, new development that will make Louisville more attractive to talented people. Projects like this drive economic growth,” GLI President and CEO Kent Oyler said in the statement, which asks the Planning Commission to approve the project.
“Not approving this development would be monumental missed opportunity to gain 500 jobs and a state-of-the-art entertainment venue on what is today a vacant store. Rejecting Topgolf at Oxmoor Center will send an anti-development message to others wishing to bring their concepts here,” the statement said.
Topgolf officials previously have said that they looked at other locations but Oxmoor Center is the only one that makes sense, indicating that they won’t come to Louisville if they can’t build at the shopping center.
The Planning Commission will resume its public hearing on the matter at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 15, at the Founders Union Building, 450 N. Hurstbourne Parkway.