Election 2022 Candidate Questionnaire – Chuck Ellinger II
Running for: Council At-Large
Question: What brought you to Lexington-Fayette County? What do you love about our community?
My father took a job with the UK Dental school when I was 18 months old, and we moved here from Columbus, OH. I love the small town feel that the city provides. As an avid cyclist, there’s not a better place to ride than out in the rolling countryside.
Question: Like the rest of the nation, Lexington faces critical challenges around developing adequate Affordable housing for low-income families and increasing attainable missing middle housing for the average income resident. What specific policy recommendations do you have to address these different challenges?
As an At-Large Council person, I voted for the Affordable Housing Trust Fund in 2014. We have put in almost $24 million to this fund since it’s inception, and leveraged that to over $350 million in development. I supported the most recent $10 million ARPA investment in affordable housing. We must continue to fund this important housing need.
Question: The 2018 Comprehensive Plan, Imagine Lexington, prioritizes infill redevelopment within the Urban Service Boundary as a primary strategy to accommodate our growth needs. How do you propose we incentivize infill and redevelopment to activate the approximately 17,000 acres of vacant, underused and underutilized land (much of which exists on our major commercial corridors) within the Urban Service Area? What specific policy recommendations or incentives do you think we could utilize to ensure we sustainably use our existing resources to meet our needs?
In the most recent comprehensive plan, the Council choose to build up and not out. The goals and objectives prioritizes infill and redevelopment. However, this can be more expensive than building on raw land. Therefore, we must incentivize developers to do this. The Mayors proposed FY23 budget sets aside $3 million for an infrastructure investment fund.
Question: The balance between our urban and rural areas is essential to our unique economy, environment, and quality of life in Lexington-Fayette County. Since the last expansion of the Urban Service Boundary in 1996, only 51% of the land brought within the boundary has been developed, and no Affordable housing has been built in those dedicated expansion areas. Do you support an expansion of the Urban Service Area during the current Comprehensive Planning update process? Please explain.
In the 2018 comprehensive plan, there was an agreement that a sustainable growth task force would be formed. It would provide objective, empirical data to know if triggers were met to expand the USB. At our most recent Planning and Public Safety committee, this was discussed. However, the task force’s work is not complete. I look forward to further discussions on this issue. We must provide responsible growth while preserving our green space.
Question: To grow Lexington-Fayette County sustainably, we must grow equitably and consider impacts on our marginalized and underserved communities. What specific policies would you recommend to incentivize community-driven investments in historically disinvested neighborhoods while preventing displacement which can result from gentrification?
As an At-Large Council member, I recently supported the new Department of Housing Advocacy and Community Development. It’s responsibility is to develop and implement strong and equitable neighborhoods. A good way to incentivize community-driven investments in historically disinvested neighborhoods is to follow the blueprint of the Lexington Community Land Trust. A good example is Davis Bottom and the redeveloped Davis Park neighborhood.
Question: What do you see as the pillars of Lexington-Fayette County’s strong and diverse economy? What specific policies do you recommend for: a) activating existing economic development land for jobs, such as the nearly 250 acres at Coldstream; b) creating opportunities for job growth utilizing the significant vacant office and commercial spaces within our urban area, and c) leveraging our unique assets and community strengths to support job growth and continued economic prosperity?
Question: Fayette County agriculture industries are a significant part of our local economy and cultural identity, having a $2.3 billion dollar annual economic impact, supporting 1 out of every 12 jobs, and anchoring a $2 billion dollar local tourism industry. What specific policies do you support to ensure the continued strength of our agriculture industries and the rural land that supports them?
As the Horse Capital of the World, we must protect what makes us unique. Fayette county has a strong agricultural history that helps drive our economy. I have and will continue to support PDR.
Question: The federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) funds offer Lexington-Fayette County a transformational opportunity to invest in transportation, water, power and energy, environmental remediation, public lands, community resilience and broadband. What specific policy recommendations do you have for approaching quality of life investments and capital improvements to make the most efficient use of these funds in the coming years? What are the top priorities for investment in Lexington-Fayette County?
We are developing a capital improvement plan to apply for these federal grants.
Question: According to the Center for Neighborhood Technology, the average Lexingtonian spends 24% of their income on transportation costs and 26% on housing. What specific policies would you propose to incentivize public transportation, bike/pedestrian improvements, and walkable developments near existing infrastructure to help alleviate both traffic and transportation costs in our community?
As an avid cyclist, I am always pushing for multimodal transportation options. We must support our public transportation system so that we can reduce congestion and pollution. We need to make it convenient so people will use it. I support the 10 Minute Walk Campaign.