UGM ZOTA Back in Committee for Discussion


In this Tuesday’s General Government and Planning (GGP) Committee Meeting, Councilmembers will discuss the Urban Growth Management Zoning Ordinance Text Amendment (UGM ZOTA).

The UGM ZOTA is a massive zoning reform package that seeks to advance goals in the Comprehensive Plan related to walkability, bikeability, housing diversity, increased density, affordable housing, and environmental sustainability.

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. This is called a Density Bonus.

  • 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.

  • 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 Planning Commission unanimously passed the UGM ZOTA in December, but there have been some changes since. Those are:

  • The addition of a Workforce Housing Density Bonus, which would allow housing developments reserved for residents making 120% or lower of the Area Median Income (AMI) to build more units than typically permitted in their zone.

  • The removal of maximum setbacks for residential buildings in the R-2 (Low Density Residential), R-4 (Medium Density Residential), and R-5 (High Density Residential) zones.

    • In many zones, buildings must be a certain distance away from the front of the lot they are on — this distance is called a setback.

    • Eliminating setback requirements may provide developers more flexibility in developing on smaller lots, or lots with unique challenges like significant trees that need protection.

You can view the presentation slides starting on page 54 of this packet.

Hal Baillie of Lexington’s Division of Planning presented the UGM ZOTA to the GGP Committee back in March. Committee Chair Preston Worley asked Councilmembers to treat the presentation as informational only and save any proposed amendments they have for the ZOTA for the future. We may see motions made to amend certain aspects of the ZOTA in Tuesday’s Committee meeting, but there is no guarantee of that.

The General Government and Planning Committee will meet Tuesday, May 7th at 1pm in Council Chambers. You can attend in-person or watch live on LexTV.

Republished from CivicLex.

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