Proposed Expansion to the Urban Service Boundary
We need your voice at city hall to speak out against irresponsible expansion, and in favor of a data-driven process to guide future growth decisions.
Several community groups — Commerce Lexington, Lexington For Everyone, and Building Industry Association of Central Kentucky — are proposing that Lexington should expand its historic Urban Service Boundary by 5,000 acres. The suggested location for the expansion is primarily around the Winchester Road Corridor, north of Athens Boonesboro Road and south of Todds Road.
In its letter to Councilmembers, these groups state that this additional land is required to provide affordable housing and create more jobs, without including information, requirements, or data indicating how private developers would use the land to meet Lexington-Fayette County’s community needs.
Note: The areas dotted in blue in the D and F quadrants are the proposed expansion areas.
There is currently no evidence, research, or data that supports the claim that expansion of the Urban Services Boundary will lower the cost of housing in Lexington-Fayette County.
Rather, a study conducted by the University of Kentucky in 2017 concluded that “Lexington’s land-use policies are not causing housing prices to rise faster than prices for the state, nation, or comparable cities. If Lexington were to expand the USB, housing prices might decrease slightly, or rise at a slightly slower rate, but the impact on housing prices would likely be temporary.”
The letter also claims that, in recent years, “Lexington has lost 1,500 jobs to surrounding counties,” but fails to acknowledge that 2022 was a record-setting year for employment in Lexington-Fayette County — announced in Mayor Linda Gorton’s 2023 State of the City address.
Records indicate that there are an additional 20,000 people working in Lexington-Fayette County in 2023 than this same time in 2022.
And lastly, due to Lexington’s strong and resilient economy, the FY 2024 budget is the largest budget in history – with a $28 million budget surplus from FY 2023. Expanding and developing land outside the current Urban Services Boundary will direct investment outside of the city’s current neighborhoods and infrastructure, and will ultimately cost more than it earns for the city in additional revenue.
A smart, data-driven process is necessary to guide sustainable future growth decisions. Fayette Alliance supports building on the work done towards completing this process, which includes work of the Sustainable Growth Task Force and the Goal 4 Work Group, along with public and stakeholder engagement, to identify a long-term strategic outline that will best serve Lexington-Fayette County.
There is a path forward for smart growth, but it requires collaboration and partnership throughout the community. Expansion, before a process is established to guide our growth, is not a responsible solution. Below, we’ve outlined recommendations for the next steps, which we believe can be achieved with broad public support.
Read Fayette Alliance’s Recommendations for How We Grow Smart
And if you’re you’re looking for a skimmable, condensed version of our recommendations, check out the Executive Summary of these recommendations below.
LFUCG Urban County Council is holding a public hearing on Tues., May 9 at 5 p.m. at City Hall. Community members are encouraged to attend and voice their opinions on the need for a new process and the current draft of the Goals and Objectives of Lexington’s 2045 Comprehensive Plan. If you can’t attend, please email your Councilmember.
Fayette Alliance is available for public comment in regard to this proposed expansion of the Urban Services Boundary.
Read more about Fayette Alliance’s position on the current draft of the Goals and Objectives of Lexington’s 2045 Comprehensive Plan.