1. Economic development is crucial for our community. What role does land-use planning play in job creation, and will you make it a priority in office?
Land use planning is essential to economic growth and a sustainable desirable community that brings businesses, keeps talent here, and promotes small business start-ups. As our demographics have changed over the years we are seeing more young single people, young families with no children, and retired people making Lexington their home. Their housing, shopping, entertainment, and recreational choices are changing and we must stay ahead of the curve to be competitive in the global market.
It is essential that we make the best use of the available land within the Urban Service Boundary, make infill and re-development projects green, and opportunities for people to live, work, and play.
2. Do you support an expansion of the Urban Service Boundary during this Comprehensive Plan Process?
No. There is an ample supply of land for growth to meet the needs of the consumers of both businesses, and homes available without expansion of the Urban Service Boundary. Smart growth, green growth, and options to meet the lifestyle choices of citizens looking for a variety of homes with the available land that is undeveloped or could be rehabbed. We need to be smart and we need to fix the infrastructure issues in the older neighborhoods, making them sustainable and bringing them back to the beauty and charm they once enjoyed.
3. What will you do to ensure that the land bank authority is properly established? What should be the criteria for awarding parcels for infill-redevelopment projects and/or real estate deals?
I think it is essential that this is set up with a transparent process, community input, and with politics left out of it. Its use must be in the best interests of the community. The criteria must give consideration to sustainability and a commitment to education and long term follow through. I will do all I can to make sure it is done as well as the PDR program has been managed. A model of fair and excellent management.
4. Will you support continued annual funding for the PDR program?
Yes, I have in the past and will in the future. This is an investment in the future of Lexington Fayette County that will secure our ability to grow our own food, keep our beautiful landscape, and what is our “brand” in perpetuity. While I believe that even many supporters of the PDR program think of it as preserving our horse farms, our farmland is in fact the “factory floor” of our agricultural tourism, food supply, as well as our equine industry. It is a significant source of income and jobs for our community.
5. How will you address Lexington’s affordable housing needs?
I am in favor of an establishing an affordable housing trust fund with dedicated funding. It has the ability to generate untapped grant funds, create jobs, and provide affordable housing for our work force as well as those that are not able to work. I see it as an opportunity to rehabilitate homes that have been neglected in our neighborhoods and return them to the beauty they once had. The options for a dedicated funding source are minimal to individuals and a solution to a growing problem with the downturn in the economy, job losses and home foreclosures. There are models that have been extremely successful in other communities.
6. How will you promote our signature agricultural industries, including equine and the local food movement in Fayette County?
Continued education of the public, continued funding of the PDR program, and more local outlets for our locally grown food. In addition, I think we have made great strides in bringing awareness and national and international events to Lexington, showing it is the Horse Capital of the World!
7. How will you handle CentrePointe and similar development projects moving forward? Is design excellence important for downtown Lexington, and if so how will you promote it in office?
I have worked hard to stop or at least slow the demolition by neglect that has cost us so many of our Historic Downtown buildings as well as those in the neighborhoods. By pushing for escalating fines for Code Enforcement Violations, it has given them the tools to make it more expensive to pay the fines than to fix the problems that have allowed the decay that then make the case for demolition. They can now put a lien on the property and sell it to someone that will invest in it. Hopefully, it will prevent these situations from getting to this point moving forward.
I do believe Lexington deserves design excellence, especially in the core of our Downtown. I served for a time on the Design Excellence Task Force. I believe in that transparency from the beginning can do a lot to keep us from getting into the controversy that led to the discourse over the original CenterPointe design. I think that has been proven with the dialogue and community engagement that has brought us to the new design recently approved by the Review Board.
8. How do you propose addressing – in the short and long term – the student housing issues in Lexington’s established neighborhoods?
I, along with Fayette Alliance, and other groups worked to bring Omar Blaik and U3 Ventures to address the relationship with Community and Anchor Institutions. The final report will be presented to the Committee on Wed, April 18th. I have met with President Capiluto and find him to be very interested in working with neighbors, the community, and the region. I have enjoyed my discussions with him and I believe he understands that what is good for Lexington is good for UK, and what is good for UK is good for Lexington.
9. How will you incentivize infill in the Urban Service Boundary, while protecting the character and historic resources of our neighborhoods? Do you support the ND-1 and H-1 overlays?
I do support ND-1 overlays and H-1. Many of the problems encountered have been the lack of penalty for allowing property to decay if you do nothing. The escalating fines have put a dent in this and hopefully in the long run will stop it from occurring.
I have also put into committee, the issue of Building Inspection giving permits to owners just before the overlay goes into affect and then extending the permit, even with no work done, 6 months later without it complying with the overlay requirements.
There are several other issues I am working on to make it easier to deal with illegal dumping of gravel in yards, illegal signs, and other such offenses by moving them to a civil process rather than criminal, and appeals to a hearing board.
10. How can we improve our compromised water quality conditions in Lexington Fayette county?
Stop the over paving of fragile areas, curbs, educate about trash and leaves in the storm water system, to name a few. This has a terrible impact on the neighborhoods as well as our rural areas and surrounding counties.
11. What is the biggest challenge and opportunity facing Lexington-Fayette County?
The under funded pension fund is a huge burden. We also have an opportunity to change the way we do business, create green living incentives, use pervious services, especially in infill areas, and capitalize on volunteerism and private public partnerships.