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Monteia Mundy Owenby- 2018 Candidate Questionnaire

Running for: Urban County Council- District 12

Short Bio:

Monteia has lived in the 12th District for 24 years and fully understands its diverse nature. She grew up in the Hartland subdivision and currently resides on a small farm near Raven Run Nature Sanctuary. Monteia has been involved in her community since well before she could vote.
Monteia earned a double Bachelor of Arts in Communication and Political Science at Wake Forest University. She earned a Juris Doctor at Northern Kentucky University Salmon P. Chase College of Law. Upon graduating law school, Monteia accepted a position as Chapter Operations Officer at USA Cares, a national non-profit. She is passionate about our armed forces and was honored to work for an organization dedicated to helping military families in need.
After passing the Kentucky Bar Exam, Monteia accepted a position at a real estate and civil litigation law firm in Lexington. She continues to focus on civil litigation and specializes in insurance defense and workers’ compensation at Casey, Bailey & Maines PLLC. Monteia has represented both Plaintiffs and Defendants throughout her career. She is admitted to practice in all Kentucky federal courts.
Monteia attends Immanuel Baptist Church. She and her husband, Lewis, are very active in the community they love so much. Whether as a community member or attorney, Monteia is devoted to providing a vibrant, thriving future for generations to come.

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/redevelopment is Lexington’s primary growth strategy, as voted on by the current City Council. I am aware of a study that is being done to review the housing needs of Lexington and to determine when or where the Urban Services Boundary can be expanded. I am anxious to learn the results of the study. As someone who lives on a farm, I would never want to see Lexington lose its unique character.

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?

Many of Lexington’s neighborhoods are going through changes and revitalization. We must use caution to ensure that the unique character of these existing neighborhoods is preserved as they tend to become diversified through the changes. The LFUCG Planning & Zoning Commission study that has been proposed should give us great insight into the direction of our community’s future housing needs.

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

Affordable housing in Lexington is not an easy issue. As infill continues, land costs will rise. Along with the additional school taxes and property taxes that will be applied as progress continues inside the boundary, the dream of home ownership becomes more elusive. I would like to see there be some state and local subsidies for assisting current residents, as well as new residents, in being able to afford to live in Lexington. I am especially interested in creating programs to assist first time homebuyers. Another component is providing incentives for employees who work in Lexington to also live in Lexington.

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?

Access to transportation is key. Many senior citizens are unable to continue driving and public transportation is not always available or convenient. Additionally, continuing to maintain state of the art medical facilities in Lexington. Gentrification needs to be observed carefully to assure security, both financially and socially, for our aging 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 support annual funding allocation for Lexington’s PDR Program when state and federal matching is available. I am a strong supporter of Lexington’s agricultural and tourism industries. I am excited about the prospect of hemp’s continued success in Kentucky – I am hopeful that it can replace the loss felt by many farmers with the decline of tobacco. Living in the rural part of the 12th District, I would suggest more collaboration with the Kentucky Department of Agriculture and Fayette County Farm Bureau to promote agriculture and agritourism. So many Lexingtonians are unaware of the wonderful rural landscape that is located only minutes away from downtown Lexington. There must be more inclusion of the rural community in municipal decisions. For example, Farm to Table events should be held on farms and not in the heart of downtown. We need to let local farmers showcase what they do, instead of treating them like second-class citizens.

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

Once again, the study that will be conducted by the LFUCG Planning Commission to review areas of development and possible expansion should also give us guidance with regard to street, road, and highway infrastructure, which we are already behind on. These issues need to be resolved quickly with the cooperation of all parties involved, be it city and/or state. Lexington is blessed with an abundance of bike and pedestrian trails that are available for use. It will be a long time before all major roads can be widened and we have to manage our current resources wisely. Evaluating traffic efficiency is highly important.

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 cannot definitively say whether I support something that has not yet been adopted by City Council. The Goals & Objectives have been approved, however, the Planning & Zoning Commission staff, as well as the Planning & Zoning Commission are still collaborating on the final Comprehensive Plan. I am anxiously awaiting the aforementioned LFUCG Planning & Zoning Commission study to see what the results are, which will allow me to make an informed decision as to what elements should be included. At this time, there are still so many unanswered questions and quantifiable data is not available.

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

Decent internet access is severely impeding the success of so many 12th District residents. Internet access is no longer a luxury, it is necessary for everyone from school children to small businesses. There are literally horse farms that can not participate in video conferences because of this issue. Like so many others, I can hardly get any work done from home due to poor connectivity. Unfortunately, 22,000 of the 25,000 Lexingtonians in the 12th District will not be getting access to Metronet gigabit internet. The current City Council voted UNANIMOUSLY to exclude those of use living outside the Urban Services Boundary. When I am elected, I will represent the entire District, even if it is unpopular with my colleagues. My constituents will be my first priority.