Barry Saturday- 2018 Candidate Questionnaire
Running for: Urban County Council- District 4
Barry Saturday is twice a UK grad, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics and Spanish, as well as a Master’s in Diplomacy (concentration in International Business) and a Master’s in Secondary Social Studies Education. He currently serves as a financial advisor to wonderful people in greater Lexington and Louisville, but has spent time in the classroom teaching high school social studies at an alternative school as well.
His experience in education shaped much of his outlook on addressing community mental health needs, as students suffering often needed a much different approach than what traditional methods suggest. Consequently, he has an interest in criminal justice reform as well as an interest in expanding the scope of social work in order to more effectively treat those who have lived through challenging conditions. In the long run, better treatment lowers crime, lowers incarceration rates and drug use, and increases the number of people productively employed, lowering welfare rolls as citizens are better able to manage their lives.
Barry’s experience in financial advice and retirement plans has given him an important edge that allows him to see that both pensions and 401(k)-style plans can work, but ensuring their success requires a number of things, from advice for participants to quality investment selection, and that politicians should not be able to reallocate participant funds, period. Our city employees deserve a predictable retirement that will allow them to live without fear of needing another job at 70 years old.
1. Do you support prioritizing infill/redevelopment as Lexington’s primary growth strategy? Under what circumstances would you support expansion of the Urban Services Boundary or Rural Activity Centers?
Infill and redevelopment is a natural process of economic growth that is important for revitalizing areas whose potential has become underutilized. Prioritizing infill and redevelopment has a downside, however, and Lexington is currently experiencing this in a major way. When the only way for a city to grow is up, low-priced land is purchased and redeveloped; this is often called gentrification. By buying up low-cost land, the gentrification effect turns previously affordable housing in the area into more expensive housing, which has a negative effect on the ability of those with lower economic means to afford to live there, even if their family has lived in the area for generations.
I would continue infill, but allow a smart approach to expansion to occur as well. Expansion would depress housing costs, which will continue to make living in Lexington a possibility for those with limited means. For more on affordable housing, see my answer to question 3.
2. What specific recommendations do you have to protect the character and context of existing neighborhoods while diversifying our housing stock to meet the needs of our community?
The Comprehensive Plan of 2018 has many characteristics that are positive for preserving the character of existing neighborhoods, but I’m concerned about its implementation. The 4th District witnessed a zone change recently in an area that was predominantly open yards with single-family homes. This zone change on Tates Creek Rd saw a single-family home and a vacant lot in the Glendover area turned into a walled, 14 townhouse development that was opposed by nearly everyone, from the neighborhood association, to the individual residents, and even the church next door.
Having canvassed the area to learn voters’ feelings, I’ve learned disapproval of this zone change is around 99%. Only two of the hundreds I spoke to favored it. Despite nearly unanimous opposition, the 4th District Councilmember not only voted for, but surprisingly made the motion to approve it. As a result, the council approved it, despite it not adhering to many aspects of the Comprehensive Plan. These issues were well documented by area residents and I at the June 12 hearing in Council chambers, including preserving the character of the neighborhood, the Comprehensive Plan’s interest in public input, preserving greenspace and tree canopy, as well as the development creating greater stormwater issues, among many other concerns.
The 4th District was poorly represented in this matter, and the residents of Glendover and other 4th District neighborhoods deserve a Councilmember that will listen to their concerns and vote to protect the character and context of 4th District neighborhoods.
3. What specific recommendations do you have to address Lexington’s affordable housing issue?
Prioritizing infill is unfortunately causing an affordable housing crisis. Limiting supply inevitably causes higher demand, leading to higher land values. Expanding the Urban Services Boundary (USB) by itself will create more supply, naturally lowering housing price rises throughout the city, and slowing the growth of affordable housing problems city-wide.
To allow infill development to occur without damaging the ability of lower-income residents to live in our community, we should grow the USB with great care and thoughtfulness as to how we can preserve and highlight the unique character of our farming heritage, while also increasing affordable housing, improving our town’s ability to attract business and jobs, and better connecting our schools with the neighborhoods they serve.
Fayette County Public Schools (FCPS) already has great experience and talent in connecting student academic content with agri-business. We can leverage this in innovative ways. My idea of expansion would include working with FCPS to promote the development of new neighborhoods of varying character and price levels alongside farms and schools. This would permit more hands-on coursework designed to incorporate academic objectives with increased student knowledge of, interest in, and passion for agri-business. Nearby commercial developments could include Kentucky Proud (or even “Lexington Proud”) student-produced agri-business products on the grocery shelves of markets, promoting greater, and lasting pride in our local farms and agribusiness.
4. The number of households headed by someone aged 65 or older is projected to increase significantly over the next decade and beyond. What specific recommendations do you have to meet the needs of our growing senior population?
Once again, growing our boundary wisely will be an effective way to increase Lexington’s capacity of senior-oriented residences. The multi-use new CenterPoint/CityCenter tower is a great example of what we can incorporate into future planning. Multi-use development encourages building up as well, to minimize the land use footprint. New developments can include elevator-accessible dwelling spaces designed for those who would like to live in walking distance from a grocery store, a church, and a farm, all at the same time. Think of the 4th District’s The Summit at Fritz Farm, but bigger, more dynamic, and bolder, and you keep the farm and utilize it as a living part of the development.
These 21st century neighborhoods could also include safe paths for walking or riding bikes on trails alongside the aforementioned farm’s acreage with visible livestock. Imagine parents dropping kids off at the grandparents’ living community, and the grandparents taking the young children for a walk, and the kids are shouting “horsey, grandpa, horsey!”
As it is nearly impossible (prohibitively expensive) to create such designs inside the existing boundary, and 70% of Fayette County’s land area is outside the boundary, expansion of the boundary will be necessary to create these uniquely designed liveable greenspaces. Having the Boundary allows the city to require certain design elements be incorporated into any development plans. We should use that power to full effect in preserving our farming heritage while designing the Lexington of the future.
5. Do you support an annual funding allocation for Lexington’s Purchase of Development Rights Program (PDR)? Please list your specific ideas to support the continued strength and growth of our agricultural and tourism industries.
The PDR program is a great idea, if we use it wisely. There are two ways we can use PDR for maximum effectiveness: areas we never want to see developed for historical or cultural reasons, and areas where the city believes expansion in the future would make sense.
For areas that we wish to protect, the process is straightforward. The city buys the development rights and the land cannot be developed without the city’s permission.
For areas that the city believes wise for future expansion, buying development rights in those areas makes sense. By planning ahead, the city invests early, and expenses will be lower than later at the time of development due to natural increases in land value. We could potentially see large boosts to revenue as a result of the sale of undeveloped land after its value has risen. These revenues could then be used to purchase more land that the city wishes to protect.
In areas the city owns development rights, council can designate the components it wishes to see in the plan, such as senior living accommodations, commercial developments, neighborhoods, connections with walking/biking paths, schools, and the neighboring farmland. After the draft components are in place, feedback should be solicited from community stakeholders in order to ensure we create the most comprehensive RFP for developers. Once the RFP is in place, developers may bid for the work. Work proceeds once the Planning Commission and Council accept a proposal submitted by the Division of Planning.
6. Citizens have noted frustration with traffic congestion. What are your specific ideas to address traffic congestion?
The first thing that needs to be done is council should immediately reject the 2018 Comprehensive Plan until it is reworked. The plan currently prioritizes development along the “primary corridors”, a.k.a. “spokes of the wheel” such as the 4th District’s Nicholasville Rd and Tates Creek Rd. Future development will look much like the zone change that occurred on Tates Creek Rd recently (passed by Council June 12, 2018 – for more, see question 2). Single family homes will be demolished in favor of larger developments that bring more cars. If recent 4th District history is any indication, this may occur regardless of the character, or interests of the neighborhoods, and without consideration of even nearly unanimous public opposition.
Employees of the Division of Planning say it will bring more cars to our major arteries, though they argue it will somehow reduce traffic congestion. Senior leadership of the Division have said the goal is to increase traffic, which is more realistic, but is not a goal anyone I’ve met in the 4th District is hoping to achieve. Until I see a precedent where introducing more cars has produced lower congestion, this is a poor plan, and designed to clog the very arteries that we need to encourage tourism and permit Lexington’s small businesses to attract customers from all over town, not to mention the impact clogged arteries could cause for school buses and the delay of first responders for whom time is of the essence.
7. The 2018 Comprehensive Plan for Lexington includes a goal to create “a new process for determining long-term land use decisions” involving the Urban Services Boundary and Rural Activity Centers. If you support the creation of this new process, what are some of the elements that should be included?
The 2018 Comprehensive Plan as is will be a disaster for the 4th District’s traffic congestion issues. Until the problematic aspects of the plan are addressed (see response to question 6), I cannot support any part of the 2018 Comprehensive Plan.
Contact your city councilmembers to request they reject the 2018 Comprehensive Plan by emailing this address: firstname.lastname@example.org or contact your district councilmember here: More at www.barrysaturday.com.
8. What is the biggest challenge facing your district? What are your specific recommendations to address that challenge?
As I speak to voters in the district, the concern that arises most often is traffic. Lexington should decide: what is our goal for traffic? The first step, from voters I’ve heard, is contact your councilmember and urge them to reject the Comprehensive Plan’s prioritization of development along primary corridors.
Next, voters agree that the wisest choice would be free-flowing arteries that allow motorists to quickly reach the area in town they’re trying to reach, then some local congestion as traffic is managed within the commercial or residential areas. Imagine going north from Man O’ War Blvd to Southland Dr without stopping until you turn left onto Southland. When returning to Man O’ War, you may have to wait longer to turn from Southland onto Nicholasville due to increased light timing, but that time will be more than made up by stopping at far fewer lights while on Nicholasville Rd.
As of August, a green light during rush hour lasts nearly 4 minutes. Outside of rush hour, that timing drops dramatically. The shorter cycle causes massive stop-and-go for motorists, increasing exhaust emissions and making shoppers less likely to venture far afield to buy from our 4th District small businesses. We could increase the light timing outside rush hour to allow motorists to move greater distances between stops, while allowing enough time for those on cross streets to avoid excessive buildup. Once cross-street traffic is on the primary corridor, their drive will be smoother.