Chuck Ellinger, II- 2018 Candidate Questionnaire
Running for: At-Large
See www.chuckellinger.com website for bio and positions
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?
The responsibility of the Council is to update the Goals and Objectives of the Comprehensive Plan every five years. I have been fortunate to be a part of this update process in the past. The newly adopted Plan prioritizes infill/redevelopment to accommodate growth needs. Since we are considered, “The Horse Capital of the World “, we must protect what makes us unique. The rural services boundary is preservation of this uniqueness and protects the character of Fayette County. The Council added a Goal to the Comprehensive Plan that asks for identifying land for potential future urban development. The Mayor will appoint a committee that will develop a RFP to hire a consultant to lead a study to recommend the process. These factors that trigger thresholds to adding land to the USB must be vetted well in order to have smart, responsible growth. They need to look at population growth, demographics, diversity, corridor utilization, affordable housing, mixed use development and maximum use of land to name just a few.
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?
In order for Lexington to be a thriving city, we must grow, but in a responsible way. We must protect our neighborhoods. We need to be aware of what we are adding to them. We need an implementation strategy that encourages development and protects neighborhood character. We should provide incentives that creates the appropriate development and upgrades infrastructe. However, we must always be cognizant of gentrification.
3. What specific recommendations do you have to address Lexington’s affordable housing issue?
Affordable housing must be an important issue for the Mayor and Council. Thanks to the efforts of BUILD, the Council created the Office of Affordable Housing and we initially funded it three million from FY 2014 budget. Moreover, annual allocations were adopted by ordinance for two million. The fund has been very successful in leveraging public investment to create affordable housing. We must continue to add affordable housing for all segments of our community.
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?
We are an aging population. My parents are both in their 80’s and I am witnessing this first hand. My father has Parkinson’s and his health is declining. My mom has been his sole care provider, but it is becoming to big of task for her. We must provide the services so they can age gracefully and in a dignified way. We can look at zone changes that allow adapting ones house and property for aging parents and relatives. Lexington has been recognized as a community to retire in. We should continue to provide more senior living residences with a focus on affordablity. Along with that, we need to make sure their basic needs ie. grocery store, pharmacy, retail, transportation, hospitals and health care, etc. are met.
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.
My record on the Council has been one of supporting the PDR program. We need to continue to support it and the agri-business that helps sustain our economy. Lexington is very fortunate to be “The Horse Capital of the World”. We must preserve what makes us unique. Moreover, we must increase our focus on tourism to enhance Lexington-Fayette County as a premier tourist destination.
6. Citizens have noted frustration with traffic congestion. What are your specific ideas to address traffic congestion?
Traffic is always one of the top complaints of our citizens. The spoke and wheel system we have can be challenging. We must work with our computerized traffic control system on synchronizing our traffic lights for better traffic flow. We can continue to look at traffic flow options such as reversible lanes. Moreover, we need to have our traffic light indicators efficient and working. On off hours, we can allow more flashing lights on some streets. As we continue to grow in population, we need to plan traffic infrastructure and patterns before we add additional drivers. Furthermore, as we have additional infill and redevelopment, we need to focus on public transportation.
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?
As I stated in question 1, the Council added a new goal for determining long-term land use decisions. I went through the process of determining the creation of this new process. These factors or elements that trigger thresholds to adding land to the USB must be vetted well in order to have smart, responsible growth. They need to look at population growth, demographics, diversity, corridor utilization, affordable housing, mixed use development, infill and redevelopment and maximum use of land to name just a few.
8. What is the biggest challenge facing Lexington? What are your specific recommendations to address that challenge?
There are many challenges and opportunities facing Lexington. The main issue my campaign focuses on is basic services to all Fayette County citizens, including exceptional police and fire developments, improved storm water and sanitary sewers, streets and roads. However, we must make public safety our top priority. The opioid crisis and the increase in violent crime are major challenges that must be addressed. Other issues that must be focused on is education, job/workforce development, and housing to name just a few. We are fortunate to be “The Horse Capital of the World”. This beautiful landscape encourages the quality of life framework to attract and retain a diverse community. Therefore, growth and demographic changes provide challenges to how we grow within Lexington. We must have responsible, smart growth and preservation of the green space. This will only occur with strong neighborhoods and encouragement of public input.