Planning presented the Urban Growth Management ZOTA last week; expansion draft map to come this week

by Jillian Riseman, CivicLex

LEXINGTON, Ky. — In last Thursday’s Planning Commission Work Session, Senior Long Range Planner Hal Baillie presented a comprehensive list of changes to land use policy called the Urban Growth Management Zoning Ordinance Text Amendment.

  • What is a Zoning Ordinance Text Amendment? It is a change to the text of the city’s Zoning Ordinance, which governs how land is used inside Fayette County.

The Urban Growth Management ZOTA proposes a significant number of changes aimed at advancing goals in the Comprehensive Plan related to walkability, bikeability, housing diversity, increased density, affordable housing, and environmental sustainability.

In the meeting, Planning Staff said that under current regulations, the type of  dense, urban development that many have expressed desire to see is very difficult, if not impossible, to develop. This set of changes would make it easier. They also expressed hope that this package would guide development in the new Urban Service Boundary Expansion area to be more in line with these priorities.

If passed, this ZOTA could have a significant impact on land use in Lexington. Here is a list of some of the potential changes:

  • Allowing multi-family housing (up to 8 units) on lots in R-2 Two-Family Residential zones. This would be an increase from two housing units
    • Where are R-2 zones? Examples of R-2 zones include many parts of Kenwick, Chevy Chase, and Waller Ave.
  • Removing drive-thrus and gas stations as an allowable use in the B-1 Neighborhood Business Zone.
    • Where are B-1 zones? Examples of B-1 zones include much of Chevy Chase, Southland Drive, and Jefferson Street.
  • Letting sites with affordable housing (for families at or under 80% of Area Median Income) build more units on a lot than their zone typically allows.
    • What could this do? Affordable Housing can be expensive to develop. Allowing more units on a lot could theoretically lower the end cost per unit, potentially reducing the rent.
  • Changes to the B-3 Zone, which would now be called the Corridor Business Zone. The changes would reduce the number of gas stations and car lots allowed in this zone and would allow multi-family residential development like apartments.
    • Where are B-3 zones? Most B-3 zoning in Lexington is along North New Circle Road and Richmond Road.
  • Create a new Corridor Node Zone, which would prioritize walkable, high-density commercial and residential developments along corridors with current and future transit access. It would also prohibit surface parking lots, requiring most parking either be in a garage or along a side-street.

You can review the full Urban Growth Management ZOTA here.

The Urban Growth Management ZOTA will go before the Planning Commission Zoning Committee on October 5th, where it will begin moving through the legislative process. Planning Commission must approve the ZOTA, and then Council will vote to approve it.  A final vote by Council will likely take place in December.

Want to give feedback?

A tentative public hearing is scheduled for October 26th. You can also email Lexington’s Planning staff by clicking here.

* CivicLex served as a community engagement consultant for Gresham Smith, the design firm who led the Imagine New Circle Road project.

Urban Service Boundary: Committee continues making Draft Expansion Map

At the August 29th Urban Growth Management Plan Advisory Committee meeting, Director of Planning Jim Duncan presented on the seven prioritized areas to expand the Urban Service Boundary discussed at the August 22nd meeting.

  • Where’s expansion likely to happen again? The 7 areas that are likely candidates for expansion are around Mint Lane and Man O War, Royster Road near Winchester Road, and several areas near Athens-Boonesboro Road.

The overview of the sections included discussion of the acreage of each section, and how these areas are impacted by floodplains, parks, protected lands, and various costs of development — including constructing utility and sewer infrastructure. However, it was cautioned that likely costs for full development would only be available after the Expansion Area Master Plan is done.

  • In short, it will likely be fully clear which areas for expanding the Urban Service Boundary will be the most cost effective once the areas are actually chosen and studied further.

The group also debated how to count gross vs. net acreage in the 2,700-5,000 acre requirement set by Council. After some debate, the committee voted to consider gross acreage for the expansion, as long as the net acreage is still equal to or greater than 2,700 acres.

  • What’s the difference? Net acreage is the total area, while gross acreage is the area minus parks, PDR farms, or acreage in floodplains.

Committee members asked the Division of Planning to clarify some of the current land uses in the prioritized areas, which will be presented at this week’s meeting. This Committee only has one more meeting to complete a draft map before the public input session on September 12th.

You can view the entire presentation from last week’s meeting here.

This week, the Urban Growth Management Plan Advisory Committee will meet on Tuesday, September 5th at 10am in the 3rd Floor Conference Room of the Phoenix Building at 101 Vine St. You can attend in person or watch live on LexTV.

Want to give feedback?

The public input session on the committee’s draft map will be held on Tuesday, September 12th at 6pm in Council Chambers.

This week at city hall:

There will be no City Council meetings this week, but you can attend any of these other public meetings:

Check out the City Calendar for other meetings and community events