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Kathy Plomin- 2018 Candidate Questionnaire

Running for: Urban County Council- District 12

Short Bio:

I am seeking a second term as Lexington’s 12th District’s Councilmember. For 21 years I was the Vice President/Sales / Marketing at WKYT-TV. At WKYT I served as the national Chair of the CBS Sales and Marketing Council. In 2000, I was named President/ CEO of the United Way of the Bluegrass. In 2009 I departed and became an independent contractor for non- profit capital campaigns. I founded 100 Women in 2014 which is a women’s donor organization providing funding to area non-profits and providing programming for women and their children. Outside of my career, I have held numerous leadership roles on boards and initiatives that have impacted our quality of life in Lexington. Most recently, I served as the first and only woman chair of Bluegrass Tomorrow and was awarded the Robert Clay Award for Regional Leadership. As the 12th District’s Councilmember, I serve on the Planning and Public Safety, Environmental Quality and Public Works Committees, Homelessness Prevention Board, Domestic Violence Prevention Board, Infill & Redevelopment Committee, Storm Water Stakeholder Committee, Vacant Property Review Commission, Keep Lexington Beautiful Commission and the Raven Run Citizens Advisory Board. I have lived in 12th District for 31 years where my husband and I raised our family. I ran for office two years ago so that I could take my experience, leadership and knowledge of my community to a new level of serving Lexington. I am looking forward to continuing my commitment to the 12th district, our citizens and community at large.

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?

Infill and redevelopment must be our number one priority in addressing Lexington’s growth needs. There are over 15,000 vacant, underutilized or blighted acres within our Urban Service Area. We must access this available land and look at creative and effective ways for refill and development. With that said many of our developers will share that it is more cumbersome and more expensive for them to re- develop inside the USB. I am a member of both of the existing Infill and redevelopment committees. These committees must accelerate our efforts and engage in more meaningful and consensus driven conversations to take the next steps to make infill and redevelopment more attractive development options. The 12th District is directly impacted by growth outside the USB. The district is home to our signature horse farms, farm land and natural resources. That is why it is critical to make infill and redevelopment a priority for our community. Future growth outside the USB should be cautiously approached and we should devise a formula for consideration as to inside USB capacity and future growth needs.

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?

The character and context of our existing neighborhoods is a very important component of our city’s identity. Many of these older neighborhoods especially in our downtown have a history that should be respected and elevated. We must have communication and input from these neighborhoods so that their identity is maintained and that improvements are reflective of their neighborhoods culture. As our 2018 housing study told us demographics are changing. Our demographic profile will be looking like an hourglass. The top of the hourglass reflects that our aging boomers are now beginning to downsize and looking for smaller spaces to live that are close to lifestyle amenities. The under 35 demographics will also be looking at smaller spaces conveniently located for close access to their interest. So, the housing landscape will be changing to apartments, condominiums and town homes rather than large single suburb dwellings.

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

Affordable Housing is a concern for our community. The Affordable Housing Trust that was put in place several years ago has made a difference with its infusion of 2miiiion dollars a year. However, the challenge still remains. One factor is the increasing rental rates that are due to supply and demand. There was an incentive offered to developers to build affordable housing that was not accessed. From my United Way days as president, I witnessed the impact of affordable housing has on a family. If 70% of household income is being spent on housing, most other needs cannot be met. We need to work with developers to look at another more attractive partnership as well as look for other funding pockets from a state, national or private funding level

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?

As our population ages we will need to be proactive in providing housing to accommodate this population. Housing needs will vary as just as the individuals’ health needs will vary. Some of our aging citizens will enjoy a very active latter part of their life. Many will be downsizing so condo and apartments will need to be available. These dwellings should also be near lifestyle amenities desired by this sector. Other seniors that have health challenges and need assisted living facilities. It seems that our developers are looking ahead as there have been numerous new facilities that have been recently built or on the horizon. One benefit of this need for more condos, apartments and health related facilities is that it decreases the pressure on large parcels of land due to the smaller footprint to accommodate more density

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. 

Yes, I emphatically support our PDR programs as evidenced by my last two years representing the 12th District, home to these protected farms. I would like to find a dedicated revenue stream for our PDR farm program so that we can reach our goal of 50,000 acres. But in the meantime, I will strongly advocate for meaningful funding on an annual basis. Horse Country has been a good example of an idea that has supported our ag and tourism. The recent approval of our Bluegrass Stockyard as a one stop Agricultural Center will be another boost to the industry. I would like to see some type of agricultural museum on sight. I would like to showcase Locust Trace as it seems to be one of our best kept secrets. We could look at community meetings being held there, community events, chamber related events. More interactions with our farms via food programs such as CSA is a direct link to our farming community. As a new participant I have a new perspective and greater appreciation for local farming.

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

Several years ago our city put into place the yellow flashing turn traffic light which really made a difference in traffic flow. However, traffic congestion continues to be a growing concern to our citizens. Almost everyone has their own car. And we have a culture here in Lexington that we want to control our own mobility. If you look around when you are driving, you will notice that the majority of cars are occupied by only the driver. There is also a stigma about riding a bus. However, Lextran is working on changing that perception. For instance, they have a financial contract with the University of Kentucky where all faculty and students have a bus pass and can use to travel anywhere on their bus routes. This is giving a passenger experience to thousands of individuals and a change in perception. We also need to look at ride sharing incentives. We have looked in the past at a regional light rail program and we should now revisit as traffic congestion continues to increase

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? 

Growth will be inevitable at some time in the future. So, I support being proactive in looking at the process of making the decision of how and where we should grow. Obviously, the growth will go out into my District. So, with that said we have to be cautious due to our rural assets beyond the USB. It will be important as to who is at the table making determining the long-term land-use decision. Perhaps, a formula like the one PDR uses only in reverse! Then a ranking system could be put in place with a consensus on the rankings and process. We need to move away from a contentious process every five years and hopefully this new additional idea to the comp plan will alleviate all the previous tensions on growth outside the USB

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

For the 12th District, it is the growth issue of expanding the urban service boundary as any growth of the boundary will directly impact the 12h District. Hopefully the abovementioned process from the 2018 Comprehensive Plan will provide a win-win approach to our rural-urban conservations and differences