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Grow Smart Academy 2.0

2024 Grow Smart Academy 2.0

Program Overview

Lexington is at a crossroads, and our community deserves answers to important questions before deciding which path to take.

At this year’s Grow Smart Academy 2.0 event, Fayette Alliance, Lord Aech Sargent, and KB Advisory Group will present two brand-new research studies that will help attendees better understand the land that’s still available for development in Lexington-Fayette County. Combined, this research represents the most up-to-date information on land use, development, and housing needs in our community. 

“Mapped: Analyzing Land and Housing Trends in Lexington” invites elected officials, community leaders, and residents to learn from and speak with the firms that conducted this important research.

Keynote Presentations

Grow Smart: Land Use Analysis and Recommendations

Lord Aeck Sargent will lead us through the findings of this study, showcasing detailed analytics on the growth and development trends of our community, as well as making recommendations for future development opportunities. This presentation will provide a detailed map of the land we have left within the Urban Services Boundary and its current zoning and acreage.

Presented by: Stan Harvey, Director of Urban Design and Planning – Lord Aeck Sargent

Stan Harvey is a Lord Aeck Sargent (LAS) principal in the firm’s Urban Design & Planning practice area and director of the Lexington, Kentucky office. With a background in both architecture and city planning, his specialties are conceptualizing planning processes, facilitating community participation, directing facilities/infrastructure programs, and developing implementation strategies. 

Harvey earned his master’s degrees in city planning and architecture, both degrees from the Georgia Institute of Technology. His bachelor’s degree in architecture was awarded by the University of Michigan. 

Harvey is currently a member of the APA’s Kentucky chapter; the Fayette Alliance, where he serves on the board; the American Institute of Certified Planners; the American Planning Association; and Downtown Lexington Corporation, a community and business advocacy group that encourages responsible economic development in the downtown business core and in the various neighborhoods surrounding this central area. Before moving in 2006 from Atlanta to his hometown Lexington to establish the Urban Collage office there, he was a member of the APA’s Georgia chapter, and served for two years as its vice president of chapter services; The Carter Center, where he served on the board of councilors; and Central Atlanta Progress. 

Lexington-Fayette County Housing Growth Analysis

The projected population of Lexington-Fayette County is estimated to be 380,000+ by the year 2045. KB Advisory group will present on how we can most efficiently utilize our land and reshape our development patterns to better accommodate the demands of our growing population. Learn about our current housing and market trends, and how our current development patterns are creating gaps in the market.

Presented by: Geoff Koski, President – KB Advisory Group

At KB Advisory Group, Geoff enjoys being part of the growth and development of our city, region, and state. As the President of KB Advisory Group, he also enjoys creating and leading the team and helping the staff find professional growth and satisfaction.  

Before transitioning to the real estate and market analysis industry, Geoff taught history, politics, and economics at the high school level—he uses the local politics and economic concepts he taught to his students in his everyday work.  

Some of Geoff’s career achievements include being part of the early planning efforts for many successful developments and redevelopments around the Southeast. Some of his personal favorites include the Turner Field, now GSU Stadium, area revisioning, as well as the creation of the new portion of Alpharetta’s new downtown area, and the creation and evolution of Sugar Hill’s downtown area in Gwinnett County. His biggest highlight was playing a leading role in the creation of the Westside Atlanta Land Use Action Plan in 2016.  

Time, Date, and Location

“Mapped: Analyzing Land and Housing Trends in Lexington” will be held on Tuesday, March 5 at 5:30 p.m. in the Farish Theatre of the Central Library Branch, 140 E. Main Street.

Register Here

Past Events

2023 – Land Use and Its Environmental Impacts

Tues., Dec. 5, 2023

Grow Smart Academy 2.0 is a free educational program that highlights and explores local issues and resources related to land-use planning and how these policies affect our community’s environment, economy, and quality of life.

The 2023 session will educate attendees on how land use planning impacts our environment and climate.

Speakers and Presentations:

“The New Water Paradigm: How Repairing the Water Cycle is Key to Climate Adaptation.”

Presented by: Leandro “Nachie” Braga

Nachie is an agroecologist, urban designer, and the founder of Geomancer Permaculture, a “for purpose” environmental design and advocacy business that organizes communities towards climate adaptation through watershed restoration, food sovereignty, and social housing. In addition to providing a crowdfunding platform for the support of permaculture-based initiatives, Geomancer advocates for improved environmental policies in local government while working with visionary clients to develop engaging and functional land management solutions.


“The Environmental Impacts of Land Use: Carbon, Water, and Air.”

Presented by: Lynne-Roche-Phillips, P.h.D., A.I.C.P.

Lynn is an Associate Professor of Geography and co-lead of the Urban Forest Initiative (UFI) at the University of Kentucky. She is credentialed by the American Institute of Certified Planners.

Prior to joining the faculty at UK in 2001, Lynn spent 17 years working in city planning with a focus on land use,water and air quality, airport master planning, and balancing development with environmental protection in coastal environments.

Through the years, her scholarship has focused on growth management, thoroughbred landscapes, political economy, and historic land use change. Lynn served 9.5 years on the LFUCG Planning Commission and is considered a national expert on Lexington’s urban services boundary. She and her husband, Jonathan, have two grown kids and two brilliant and impossibly funny grandkids who live out of state. In her spare time, Lynn enjoys distance running and is an accomplished marathoner.

Russ Turpin

Russ moved to Lexington, Kentucky in 1998 and has dedicated his profession to
environmental restoration, ecological stewardship, and advocating for the vital role of nature in
our communities. He believes that the quality of nature in your neighborhood affects your
quality of life.



2022 – Zoning for Equity: Updating Parking and Open Space Requirements

Tuesday, March 30th

View Recording

Do you want to live closer to quality greenspace? Do you notice large empty parking lots across town that could potentially be used for people rather than cars?

Join us for a presentation and panel discussion with LFUCG Planning staff to learn about two upcoming zoning changes related to parking requirements and open space/greenspace. 

Updating our outdated zoning policies helps our city work toward equity and a better quality of life for all. We will discuss how these two zoning ordinance text amendments (ZOTAs) will allow for more equitable, quality developments that help us house all of our neighbors and work toward centering the needs of our community.


Valerie Friedmann, LFUCG Planning– Valerie Friedmann is a Long Range Senior Planner and the Greenspace Planner for the City of Lexington Kentucky’s Division of Planning. Valerie coordinates with developers and various government divisions to further the city’s open space plans during the development process. Her work helps ensure that all communities are served by thoughtful urban design and that everyone has equitable access to vibrant, community-focused open spaces. Prior to working for the City of Lexington, Valerie was an Assistant Professor in the Auburn University Landscape Architecture Program. At Auburn her research focused on the ecological and aesthetic benefits of novel plant communities. Valerie holds a Master’s Degree in Landscape Architecture from the University of Tennessee.

Chris Taylor, LFUCG Planning– Chris Taylor is an Administrative Officer with City of Lexington’s Long-Range Planning section. He has a degree in Economics from the University of Kentucky. Chris has been with Lexington’s Planning Division for 14 years. In his most recent role, he was instrumental in the completion of the City’s newest comprehensive plan, Imagine Lexington, which provides for creative infill & redevelopment within the nation’s first urban service boundary. Currently he’s working to revise Lexington’s zoning ordinance to provide considerably more housing opportunity.


2021 – CPA 2.0 Promoting Our Farms: The Future of AgTech in Lexington

Tuesday, January 19th
Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton
Dean Nancy Cox, UK College of Agriculture, Food, and Environment
Jordan Wood, CEO of RedLeaf Biologics

A panel discussion about the AgTech industry in Lexington and why it is the hottest topic in economic development and agriculture. Panel included Mayor Linda Gorton, Dean Nancy Cox of UK’s College of Agriculture, Food, and Environment, and Jordan Wood, CEO of RedLeaf Biologics. Hear about the evolving landscape of the industry, how it will impact our community, and the progress of current AgTech businesses.

View Recording


Linda Gorton, Mayor of Lexington, Ky.

Linda Gorton, the longest-serving member of the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Council, is serving her first term as Lexington Mayor. Mayor Gorton was elected on November 6, 2018, winning 63% of the vote. A native of Ohio, Mayor Gorton has lived in Lexington most of her adult life. In addition to her 16 years on the Council, including 4 years as Vice Mayor, Mayor Gorton has been a dedicated volunteer in our community.

Dean Nancy Cox, University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food, and Environment

Nancy M. Cox became dean of the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment on Jan.1, 2014. Recognizing the significant footprint and statewide role of the college, Cox was appointed in August 2020 by UK President Eli Capilouto to join his leadership team with the additional role as vice president for land-grant engagement for the University of Kentucky.

Prior to her tenure as dean, Cox served the college as associate dean for research and director of the Kentucky Agricultural Experiment Station. As a renowned animal/equine physiologist and associate dean, she accelerated the college’s land-grant role as a research and engagement leader in Kentucky agriculture; prioritizing investments in veterinary diagnostics, equine health and safety, and animal and forage production—historic mainstays for the commonwealth’s flagship university.

Cox began her career at Mississippi State University, where she taught and conducted research in animal physiology. She received a bachelor’s degree from Furman University, master’s degree from University of Georgia, and doctorate from North Carolina State University.

Jordan Wood, CEO of RedLeaf

Jordan is the CEO of ag tech startup, RedLeaf Biologics, Inc. At RedLeaf, Jordan oversees the company’s commercialization efforts of utilizing unique plant varieties as functional ingredients in the health & wellness, cosmetics, and natural colorants markets. Since joining RedLeaf full-time in 2017, Jordan has managed over $1.5M in grant funding from federal and state agencies and raised an additional $1M in outside capital. These efforts have allowed the company to accelerate their regulatory and commercial timelines, resulting in the anticipated launch of RedLeaf’s first FDA approved product in the Fall in 2021.

An attorney by trade, Jordan was a partner at a Birmingham, AL based law firm prior to joining RedLeaf. He maintained a practice in healthcare and employment law sector.

2020 – CPA 2.0 Growing Our City: Affordable Housing

November 17
Elisa Bruce, REACH, Director of Housing Education and Counseling
Justin Kirchner, Lexington Community Land Trust, Director of Homeownership

Equal access to housing is a fundamental civil right and is critical to many individual and community social outcomes from economic prosperity to social equity. Access to housing is a goal that government, public officials, and private citizens must embrace if housing access is to become a reality.

In many areas across the U.S., a primary obstacle to housing is a relative absence of affordable and diverse housing for all types of families at different income levels close to where people work and play. Often, public policies implemented in cities can contribute to the lack of affordable housing, along with pushback from the community due to myths around diverse, mixed-income neighborhoods. 

Watch this recording to better understand the barriers to increasing affordable housing in Lexington-Fayette County and how the Lexington Community Land Trust and REACH are working to fight these barriers.

View Affordable Housing Recording

CPA 2.0 Growing Our City: Food Insecurity
September 22, 2020
Kristin Hughes, Community Education & Outreach Director, FoodChain Lex
Christine Smith, Executive Director, Seedleaf Lexington

Join Fayette Alliance as we discuss food insecurity in Lexington-Fayette County, particularly how it has been exacerbated by COVID-19 with the largest impacts on marginalized communities. We will hear how urban agriculture and traditional agriculture can play a major role in addressing our city’s food insecurity. Attendees will leave with a better understanding of the work that Seedleaf and FoodChain are doing to support our community as a whole, particularly their work in alleviating food insecurity for young people, their families, and marginalized communities. Finally, we will discuss how to support these organizations and ongoing work that can be done around this issue.

View Food Insecurity Recording

CPA 2.0 Promoting Our Farms: Urban Agriculture
April 2020
Andrew and Reva Russell English, North Farm

COVID-19 has changed the way we live our daily lives, exposing and highlighting gaps in basic needs we need to address but also opportunities for our local community to come together to support our neighbors.
Agriculture is a significant part of our local economy, to the tune of $2.3 billion per year, as well as our identity and quality of life. A lesser known form of farming happens right here in Lexington’s urban core. Hear from Andrew and Reva Russell English who raise vegetables, herbs, and fruit at North Farm, in the heart of the Northside of downtown Lexington.
This crisis has created (and exacerbated) local food insecurity and exposed potential food supply chain issues with nationwide impacts. Looking to our local food supply and supporting our local farmers are important ways our community can talk about and support these local businesses, as well as the business of agriculture in the broader scope of our local economy.
View Urban Agriculture Recording

CPA 2.0 Responsible Infrastructure: Sewers and Water Quality
February 2020
Nick Ryan’s Happy Hour
Charles Martin, Director of the Division of Water Quality, spoke around the EPA Consent Decree and an update on road closures.

CPA 2.0 Planning 101: Exploring Placebuilder
Monday, October 14, 2019
5-6:30 PM
Blue Stallion Brewing Co.

Thank you to everyone that joined Fayette Alliance at Blue Stallion Brewing Co. for a discussion of how the 2018 Comprehensive Plan is being implemented in Lexington and Placebuilder, a framework within the 2018 Comprehensive Plan for applicants, Planning Staff, community stakeholders, Planning Commission, and the Council to evaluate whether or not development proposals are in agreement with the Plan. Chris Taylor from LFUCG Long Range Planning presented Placebuilder and answered questions about its implementation. This was a part of the Mission Monday program at Blue Stallion where 10% of taproom sales were donated to Fayette Alliance’s Citizens’ Planning Academy.

Comprehensive Plan Info Sheet

Placebuilder Info Sheet