Fayette Alliance Supports Proposed Text Amendment to Coldstream’s Zoning
The University of Kentucky’s Coldstream Research Park is comprised of 735 acres, and the only parcel in Fayette County zoned P-2. The P-2 Zone is intended to be a “jobs creation” zone. Currently fifty-six organizations in biotech, pharmaceutical, equine health, and other industries are located at Coldstream, employing over 2,250 people. Coldstream estimates that in 2015 the average annual wage was $55,000 and annual payroll taxes generated were over $2.75 million.
Coldstream has a track record of attracting high-wage paying, innovative businesses that benefit Lexington’s economy and quality of life. Given the incredible growth of the University of Kentucky and UK HealthCare, Coldstream is in a unique position to accelerate economic development, particularly around the primary pillars of Fayette County’s economy: agriculture, health care, education, and high tech.
In 2009, Coldstream adopted a Master Plan that called for modernizing their development by creating a more walkable, live-work-play type environment. According to the Survey of North American Research Parks, incorporating mixed-uses has been a trend in the evolution of university research parks for some time. The P-2 ZOTA provides changes to the physical development and permitted land uses Coldstream believes will enable them to compete with other University Research Parks and create the dynamic environment that will provide job growth and quality of life benefits to our entire community. Given Coldstream’s track record of success and unique position as a university research park, the Fayette Alliance supports the ZOTA for the following primary reasons:
- The proposal increases the amount of acreage and square footage dedicated to employment uses.
- Coldstream has a track record of attracting the types of businesses for which the zone was intended.
- The proposal limits “supportive” or “mixed uses” to the exact same amount of acreage currently dedicated in the P-2 Zone for retail, restaurant, and hotel/motel uses—15% of the total acreage.
- The proposal makes clear that the “supportive uses” are truly intended to support the principal employment uses by:
- Restricting their location in the development;
- Mandating that they shall only be developed and constructed either concurrently with or post-construction and occupancy of at least 250,000 square feet of principal employment uses;
- Phasing in the supportive uses by mandating that, until the 250,000 square foot threshold is achieved, a ratio of principal/supportive uses must meet the 80/20% ratio even on preliminary development plans.
- The proposal would create clustered, usable open spaces for parks and recreation, in addition to the 225-acre park, two dog parks and nearly two miles of Legacy trail currently located at Coldstream.
Since Lexington is largely dependent upon payroll taxes for its revenues, maximizing our current stock of employment land is critical to our community’s success. By modernizing and more efficiently using existing space, Coldstream proposes to add nearly 75 acres and more than double the amount of square footage devoted to jobs. Coldstream is a proven economic development site, and the proposed changes represent a significant opportunity for additional job growth.