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James Brown- 2018 Candidate Questionnaire

Running for: Urban County Council- District 1

Short Bio:

A native of Lexington, Ky., James is a graduate of Paul Laurence Dunbar High School. He is happily married to his wife, Charmayne of 20 plus years and they have three children. James’ previous employment include stints at Lexmark and GTE, before beginning a career in the automotive industry, working for 13 years at the Toyota Motor Manufacturing plant in Georgetown, Ky. After that, James made a career change becoming a full-time real estate professional, selling both residential and commercial property for United Real Estate. Councilman Brown has been representing the 1st District since April 2015. ​

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?

I do support prioritizing infill/redevelopment as our city’s primary growth strategy. I support the concept of the city’s development of a new process to determine long term land use, which should help as a tool in deciding when and where expansion should occur in Lexington.

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?

I recommend that developers make contact with community members to learn about the character and history of the neighborhood. Use those opportunity to get a better understanding of the housing stock that may meet the needs of the community.

3. What specific recommendations do you have to address Lexington’s affordable housing issue?

I recommend that the city identify a dedicated funding source for the affordable housing fund in addition to gradually make increases to the fund in order to reach recommended funded levels. Another recommendation would be to intentionally disperse affordable housing options through out our community in attempts to prevent over saturation in areas.

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?

Our city needs to explore zoning options that allow for auxiliary elder/senior dwelling flexibility in our current neighborhoods. Create incentives for developers to build or re-purpose smaller, accessible and affordable units to accommodate our growing senior population.

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. 

I have in the past and will continue to support Lexington’s PDR Program. In regards to tourism the city should look for opportunities to partner with Horse Country, Keeneland, Red Mile and VisitLex to promote our signature horse racing heritage. LFUCG, Fayette Alliance in conjunction with CLEX should collaborate on a true annual report outlining the economic impact of the agriculture industry in Fayette County.

6. Citizens have noted frustration with traffic congestion. What are your specific ideas to address traffic congestion? 

The city and state both need to widen roads where amenable. Enhancing our public transportation system can provide another option to travelers. Expanding our trail systems and creating more bike lanes will give our citizens alternative ways to navigate our city and reduce traffic congestion.

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? 

I support the creation of this new process. I think the new process should include fact base indicators that can be used to prompt discussion about the Urban Service Boundary. Another element that should be included is a form of measure that is in place to prevent the potential of too much residential density and undesirable development.

8. What is the biggest challenge facing your district? What are your specific recommendations to address that challenge?

One of the biggest issues facing the 1st District are the negative impacts on vulnerable neighbors in communities that are experiencing revitalization. My current recommended approach as the current Chair of the Neighborhoods in Transition Task-force is to evaluate neighborhood redevelopment in Lexington, with expectations that the Task-force will recommend policy changes and programs to protect long term residences.