Jennifer Reynolds- 2018 Primary Candidate Questionnaire
Running for: Urban County Council 11th District
Candidate Website: http://reynoldsfor11th.com/
1. What is the biggest challenge and opportunity facing the city of Lexington and your district (if applicable)?
As I converse with people in my community, I have noticed that each resident has a very personal idea of what the most important challenge is facing Lexington and their district. One of the greatest challenges I see is for Lexington to remain distinct among cities and to focus on what makes it unique. Lexington is known for our horses, agriculture, healthcare, professional services, and education. If we focus on improving and expanding these areas, then we will also create job growth in other sectors. In the 11th district we have a wonderful opportunity to work together as the most diverse district in Lexington. We have great neighborhoods, a central location, beautiful parks, grocery stores and numerous other local businesses. Opportunities abound to come together in order to work on common issues. The challenge in the 11th is bridging the gaps between the neighborhoods and the different people who live throughout the district so that they can organize and work with their councilperson to make the district a more beautiful, cohesive, peaceful place for all residents. My goal as councilwoman is to build bridges and help unify the district.
2. The newly adopted Goals and Objectives of the 2018 Comprehensive Plan prioritize infill/redevelopment as a primary strategy to accommodate our growth needs. In fact, studies indicate there are many infill/redevelopment opportunities throughout the city. What specific recommendations do you have to protect the character and context of existing neighborhoods while pursuing this needed strategy? Would you support a program that provides incentives for infill/redevelopment projects within the Urban Services Area? If so, what specific types of incentives.
While talking with neighbors in my district many are concerned about the effect infill is having and may have on their communities. They are concerned about houses that do not fit the character and appearance of their neighborhoods, houses and buildings that are too tall, too large, or use materials that do not maintain the neighborhood’s architectural integrity. One neighborhood association is looking into adding an ND-1 overlay to their neighborhood and others have already done this. I believe empowering our neighborhoods to lead the way in setting standards and regulations for new buildings is a positive step to ensuring that the attractiveness and appeal of our communities is not compromised by infill projects. Property owners can responsibly construct new buildings while not harming our existing neighborhoods. I support infill and redevelopment projects if and when they take the surrounding residents into consideration and are thoughtfully done and do not blindly gentrify, forcing longtime residents and business owners out of their homes. The 11th District has an Oxford Circle Feasibility Study because residents have identified Oxford Circle’s need for revitalization. I think plans are a good idea when possible in order to communicate with residents about the type of development they want for their own community. At the same time we should be protecting our unique beautiful farmland so that we can continue with our successful horse and agriculture industries. In terms of incentives, I would want to make sure that we were incentivising the types of infill construction that is needed so that our tax dollars are going to developments that serve our community well.
3. Land use planning and economic development go hand-in-hand. What are the main economic pillars in Lexington and what specific planning policies support their growth? What specific policies do you support to ensure we create 21st jobs that maximize our unique assets?
Some of the main economic pillars of Lexington include agriculture, equine, high-tech, education, healthcare, and professional services. Lexington’s Comprehensive Plan is in place in part to help us maintain our agriculture and equine industries, so that we do not encroach on our farmland, but focus on creative ways to develop and grow as a city. I support the Comprehensive Plan and want to encourage smart infill development within the Urban Service Boundary. Both outside of the Urban Service Boundary as well as inside, we need to make sure we are giving plenty of attention to these pillars, so that more jobs are being created here in the Bluegrass. If we lose focus on what makes us unique, we will not be able to focus on growing our industries that are our strengths. I support the PDR program that aids our horse and agriculture businesses by preserving farmland for generations to come. The JOBS Fund offers incentives to businesses offering new jobs with decent salaries. If we have good paying jobs, we will be able to grow our workforce.
4. Why are you the best candidate for the position you seek?
I am the best candidate for 11th District Urban County Council because I will be able to effectively build bridges between the diverse people groups of the district. The 11th District is Lexington’s most diverse district, and I want all of District 11 to have representation in City Council. My experience in community outreach, my experience working in 11th district community, and my education in anthropology and Spanish have prepared me to serve our city as a bilingual member of City Council in our beautiful, diverse district where I will bring new energy and ideas.
5. Like the rest of the nation, Lexington’s population is aging. In the next decade and beyond, a majority of households will be headed by someone 65 or older for the first time in our history. Our aging demographic has significant implications for housing and neighborhood design. What specific recommendations do you have to ensure we provide safe, accessible, affordable housing to our seniors in ways that ensure they maintain independence and social connections as they age?
For me, it’s important to make sure that the whole city has easy access to affordable housing and important amenities no matter your age, race, gender, ethnicity, or sexual orientation. I would recommend that as we design new plans for our neighborhoods and city, we take all people into consideration, so that our roads and sidewalks are easily accessible and used by everyone. Gil Penalosa visited Lexington last year and discussed the 8 80 cities vision of creating safe and happy cities that prioritize everyone’s well-being, whether 8 years old or 80. As we develop we need to keep the senior citizen community in mind and make sure we are building housing that is specifically for that community similar to a place in my district, Christian Towers.
6. Fayette County agriculture is an annual $2.3 billion industry that supports one in twelve jobs in Lexington. Fayette County farmland is the factory-floor of this industry, which also anchors a burgeoning travel and tourism industry. To ensure continued viability of our agricultural industries, do you support an annual funding allocation to the Purchase of Development Rights Program? Why or why not. What other specific policies do you support to ensure the continued strength and growth of our agriculture industries?
Yes, I support an annual funding allocation to the PDR Program from our local government because maintaining our farmland is part of what makes Lexington distinct and well known. I support policies that promote KY products and agriculture like Kentucky Proud, Local First, and Farm to Table initiatives. On a personal level I shop local whenever I can, I frequent the farmer’s market, and buy local products. When I eat out I eat at local restaurants. As councilwoman I will do everything in my power to make policies that further promote the growth of local agriculture and our local economy as a whole.