Community Economy

Three couples who live near Oxmoor Center in Hurstbourne filed a lawsuit Monday in an effort to prevent Topgolf from building nearby. They say the Louisville Metro Planning Commission shouldn’t have granted Topgolf waivers for lighting that they say will shine into their homes and hurt their property values.

Peggy Barber is one of the plaintiffs. She said the bright lights that Topgolf wants to install will affect how she’s able to enjoy her backyard with her family.

“We’re the ones that came here first. We’re the neighbors. We’re the community of Hurstbourne. We need to preserve our character of Hurstbourne,” she said. “So why would we want to go in our house? Why can’t we come out and be with our families? For them to make a dollar?

Last week, the Louisville Metro Council’s Planning Committee voted to send a measure allowing the project to the full Council for a final decision, which could come as soon as Nov. 29. Councilwoman Marilyn Parker of District 18, which includes the proposed Topgolf site, voted against the measure. After the vote, in an email to residents in her district, Parker explained her position.

“Having read the record and considered all aspects presented, I cannot help but oppose this development,” she wrote. “Most people who live adjacent to Oxmoor moved next to a Mall –not an outdoor sports complex/nightclub with outdoor speakers and 175-foot-tall poles that directly face single family homes.”

Parker went on to say that she believes Louisville is right for Topgolf but at a different site.

Steve Porter is representing the plaintiffs. He accused the planning commission of relying on lighting studies paid for by Topgolf in making its decision, which did not uphold the city’s Comprehensive Plan and Land Development Code. And he said the Commission did not provide sufficient evidence to justify the waivers.

“Well, we’re not against people who develop, as long as they develop within the Comprehensive Plan and within the Land Development Code,” Porter said. “And in this case, they asked for various waivers and variances.”

On Monday, the head of Louisville’s chamber of commerce, Kent Oyler, issued a statement saying he thought Porter was trying to stifle growth in the city. Porter was previously involved in a lawsuit that the mayor said led to Walmart pulling out of a deal to build a store on the west side of Louisville.

Porter said the three couples and others in the community were providing financial support for the lawsuit.

Earlier this year, the Hurstbourne City Commission donated $3,000 to the neighborhood opposition group to retain Porter. Hurstbourne’s City Administrative Officer Jim Leidgen told WFPL the city has no plans to be involved with any lawsuit against Topgolf.

In a statement, Cliff Ashburner, the attorney for Topgolf in Louisville, called the lawsuit an “obvious delay tactic.”

Amina Elahi is WFPL's City Reporter.