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Report: Castleton Lyons Land Could Be Sold for Housing

According to the plans, the lots will range in size from 40 acres to 80+ acres. 

The tower at Castleton Lyons near Lexington was aglow after the farm's Gio Ponti took home two Eclipse Awards in 2015

The tower at Castleton Lyons near Lexington was aglow after the farm's Gio Ponti took home two Eclipse Awards in 2015

Anne M. Eberhardt

The owners of Castleton Lyons Farm filed plans May 31 to "subdivide more than 1,000 acres of the property into 16 different lots," according to a June 14 story by the Lexington Herald-Leader.

According to the plans, the lots will range in size from 40 acres to more than 80 acres. 

The farm's location outside of Lexington's growth boundary restricts what can be built on agricultural property. 

The Herald-Leader cites city officials as saying that each lot "can have one home on it and at least one additional home for farm workers, called a farm tenant home." Each home must also "have a septic system, which must be approved by the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department."

A Castleton Lyons executive did not immediately respond to a June 17 BloodHorse request for comment. 

According to the report, no other type of development is allowed on property zoned agriculture outside of the growth boundary.

Dr. Tony Ryan, the co-founder of Ryanair, purchased the property in 2001. Then known as Castleton Stud, Ryan renamed the farm Castleton Lyons after his family estate, Lyons Demesne, in Ireland's County Kildare. Following renovations to the property, the farm reopened as a stud farm that saw the additions of stallions such as Action This Day, Bernstein, Malibu Moon, Sir Shackleton, Toccet, and Wiseman's Ferry. 

Also standing at the farm was Gio Ponti, who won three Eclipse Awards and earned more than $6 million in his career. He was pensioned before the 2024 season and resides at the farm.

Ryan died in 2007 at the family estate in his native Ireland. His son Shane Ryan is the current owner.

According to the Herald-Leader, there was a proposal to "spend $5 million in local tax money to preserve the farm" through the Purchase of Development Rights program, but that was rejected in 2017. The report notes that the program "uses matching federal dollars to buy development rights, which keeps the land from being developed." However, the federal program does not allow foreign-born or non-U.S. taxpaying citizens from receiving federal money. 

The program proposed using local money to purchase the development rights, but the $5 million would have been "roughly twice what the city allocates" to the program each year and it was decided that was too steep of a price. 

City spokeswoman Susan Straub told the Herald-Leader that the plan will initially be reviewed as part of a July 3 Urban County Planning Commission subdivision subcommittee meeting. The full planning commission will review the plans at a July 11 meeting.