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2024 Research Preview

In 2023, Fayette Alliance commissioned three different research initiatives to help promote responsible growth in our community:

  • Public Opinion Survey on Land Use and Development
  • GrowSmart: Land Use Analysis and Recommendations
  • Lexington-Fayette County Housing Growth Analysis

Combined, these studies give us valuable insight into the land and growth trends in Lexington-Fayette County, public opinion surrounding smart growth initiatives and our historic Urban Services Boundary, and provide foundational data on which to base future land-use decisions. 

Public Opinion Survey on Land Use and Development

When talks of expansion began in the spring of 2023, we asked ourselves two questions — “Is this the kind of growth our community needs?” and “Is this the kind of growth our community wants?” The “Public Opinion Survey on Land Use and Development”  answers the latter of those questions.

Anonymously, randomly, and in partnership with a local organization called The Matrix Group, we polled 2,000 residents of Lexington-Fayette to gauge public opinion on growth and expansion. The results showed us that residents of our community:

  • Would prefer to see new housing built along major corridors and within existing neighborhoods inside the Urban Services Boundary.
  • Do not support private developers guiding infrastructure planning and development.
  • Would be more likely to vote for a candidate who is opposed to expanding the Urban Service Boundary for development. 



Grow Smart: Land Use Analysis and Recommendations

To inform advocacy efforts related to the Comprehensive Plan and the proposed expansion of the USB, we asked nationally recognized urban planning firm Lord Aeck Sargent to build on their previous work for Fayette Alliance, which resulted in “GrowSmart: Land Use Analysis and Recommendations.” The study provides detailed analytics on the growth and development trends of the community, as well as recommendations for future development opportunities.

  • How much land is left within the Urban Services Boundary for housing and economic development? Where is it located, and what is the current zoning? 
  • How many acres of land do we utilize for development each year?
  • How much vacant office, industrial, and warehouse space exists within our urban core?
  • How can we promote efficient land uses and where are the best opportunities to do so? 

This report answers these questions and more — it provides us with a roadmap of the land we have left within the Urban Services Boundary, and innovative strategies for a renewed focus on efficient infill and redevelopment. Utilizing the data within this report will be key to growing our community and economy for decades to come.

Lexington-Fayette County Housing Growth Analysis

The projected population of Lexington-Fayette County is estimated to be 380,000+ by the year 2045. To prepare for this growth, we must understand what the market demands, the gaps in the existing market, and what types of housing – at what price points – are necessary to meet Lexington’s needs. 

The “Lexington-Fayette County Housing Growth Analysis” provides insight into housing trends within our community and guides how we can more efficiently use our land and reshape our development patterns to better accommodate our growing population.

  • In 2018, new single-family homes under $300,000 made up over 40% of all new homes sold in Lexington-Fayette County, however, in 2022, they made up 0%.
  • Both home prices and rent averages in Lexington-Fayette County are below the national average.
  • Townhomes are now gaining market acceptance and aligning with consumer preferences.
  • New housing development in Lexington-Fayette County is primarily focused on single-family detached products and large-scale multifamily products.

Ultimately, the data from this research tells us that the production of future ownership opportunities will need to shift towards higher-density options like townhomes, duplexes, and condominiums if Lexington is to absorb its projected growth, stay committed to the goals of the Urban Services Boundary, and to meet the price point needs of our workforce. 

Creating new, unique kinds of housing — specifically, “missing middle” housing — will be essential to accommodate growth, mitigate urban sprawl within our community, and create lower housing costs for all.



Releasing the New Research

The research studies will be presented and released at an upcoming event titled “Mapped: Analyzing Land and Housing Trends in Lexington” on Tuesday, March 5 at 5:30 p.m. in the Central Library Branch’s Farish Theatre, 140 E. Main St.

Attendees will hear from two different urban planning and land-use experts: Stan Harvey — Director of Urban Planning and Design at Lord Aeck Sargent, and Geoff Koski — President of KB Advisory Group, a real estate and economic development advisory firm.

The first presentation, titled “Grow Smart: Land Use Analysis and Recommendations,” will provide a detailed map of the land we have left within the Urban Services Boundary and its current zoning and acreage.

The second presentation, titled “Lexington-Fayette County Housing Growth Analysis,” will focus on how our community can most efficiently utilize our land and reshape our development patterns to better accommodate a growing population. Seating is limited for our “Mapped” event, and registration is required.

Register for Our Research Release Event