Chuck Ellinger II- 2018 Primary Candidate Questionnaire
Running for: Urban County Council At-Large
Candidate Website: http://www.chuckellinger.com/
1. What is the biggest challenge and opportunity facing the city of Lexington and your district (if applicable)?
There are many challenges and opportunities facing the city of Lexington. The main issue my campaign focuses on is basic services to all Fayette County citizens, including exceptional police and fire departments, improved storm water and sanitary sewers, streets and roads. However, we must make public safety our top priority. Other issues that must be focused on is education, jobs/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 growth and preservation of the green space. This will only occur with strong neighborhoods and encouragement of public input.
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.
The responsibility of the Council is to update the Goals and Objectives of the Comprehensive Plan every 5 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 the preservation of this uniqueness and protects the character of Fayette County. However, 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 infrastructure. However, we must always be cognizant of gentrification.
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?
Since planning and economic development go hand-in-hand, we must provide the framework to help Lexington compete. Lexington has a unique agri-business economy because of its rural landscape. Moreover, it is a University town where UK is it’s top employer. We must take advantage of our strengths. We need a well educated workforce to meet the needs of the 21st century jobs. Therefore, a strong working relationship with the City government, the business community and the Universities which focuses on economic growth opportunities will help provide jobs for all our citizens
4. Why are you the best candidate for the position you seek?
I believe I am the best candidate because of my background and experience. My record on the Council for 12 years was one of dependability, accountability and fiscal responsibility. I have a common sense approach to problem solving. I encourage an open dialogue of all viewpoints and have an open mind on issues. In order for Lexington to be successful, we must be open and accountable to all our citizens.
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?
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 health 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. Along with that, we need to make sure their basic needs ie. grocery store, pharmacy, retail, transportation, health care, etc. are met.
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?
My record on the Council has been one of supporting the PDR program. We need to continue to support it and 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.