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Election 2022 Candidate Questionnaire – James Lombardi

Running for: Council District 9

Question: What brought you to Lexington-Fayette County? What do you love about our community?james lombardi lexington ky

I chose to work here because I chose to live here.

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?

I agree that the Urban Service boundary needs to be expanded to accommodate residential development. I also agree that all of the unused Urban Service land is not being utilized nearly as efficiently as it could be. A larger percentage should be dedicated to addressing affordable housing.

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?

I would recommend studying rezoning areas within the Urban service Boundary to accommodate both growth and housing needs.

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.

I Do support an expansion of the Urban Service Area during the current Comprehensive Planning update process. The housing shortage in Fayette county will only continue if it is not abated. Expanding the USB is one tool available to address the problem. Further, I would support a portion of any expanded area to be dedicated to affordable housing.

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? 

Displacement from gentrification in some areas is inevitable. However, the LFUCG can remain involved in supporting small businesses and neighborhoods through several means. For example, obtaining grants for neighborhoods and supporting small community businesses.

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?

Economic development and job creation should be a priority for the LFUCG. Our current tax structure depends primarily upon revenue generated by payroll tax. In order to meet the budget demands in the future I would be amenable to activating existing economic development land for jobs, such as the nearly 250 acres at Coldstream and creating opportunities for job growth utilizing the significant vacant office and commercial spaces within USB.

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?

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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?

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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?

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