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Public Opinion: How Residents Want to Grow

An individual’s opinion is subjective. 

However, when a large group of people in a community are polled, their collective voice becomes objective — representing the opinion of a majority rather than a singular individual.

Objectively, overwhelmingly, and based on two different public opinion surveys conducted throughout 2022 and 2023 in Lexington-Fayette County, residents support maintaining the Urban Services Boundary and accommodating growth with new housing types and increased density

On the Table

In 2022, CivicLex — a nonprofit organization dedicated to strengthening the civic health of the Lexington-Fayette County community — conducted a public survey called “On the Table” to gather input for Imagine Lexington, the city’s 2023 Comprehensive Plan.

Approximately 2,500 residents participated in the survey that was themed around how Lexington is growing and changing. Topics included:

  • Neighborhoods
  • Environment
  • Jobs and Prosperity
  • Community
  • Urban/Rural Balance

Urban/Rural Balance

On the subject of Urban/Rural Balance, the On the Table Public Input Report states,

In general, people expressed a very strong desire to see continued infill and redevelopment opportunities as the dominant way to accommodate future growth.

People are concerned about what suburban-style growth would mean for Lexington. Their concerns are focused on what it would mean for congestion, how it would fail to improve existing areas that need amenities, as well as what that type of growth would cost us in local identity. 

Infill and redevelopment wasn’t just heavily suggested downtown, but throughout Lexington to make every area more desirable.“

67% of residents who took the survey said that “Growth in Lexington is a good thing, depending on how it happens.” 

  • Important: We at Fayette Alliance agree with this majority. 
  • Additionally: Fayette Alliance has always stated that “the question is not if  we grow, but how.”

Respondents were also explicit in how they believe Lexington should grow — suggesting a focus on higher density development; building our city up, not out. A shared sentiment was that increasing density would help achieve other desirable outcomes: more walkable neighborhoods, decreased congestion, and more. Lexington’s historic Urban Services Boundary was mentioned throughout this section.

Participants that mentioned the Urban Services Boundary support not just keeping the boundary, but maintaining its current location. Even against the backdrop of broad affordability concerns, respondents expressed a desire to meet that need with new housing types and increased density.”

Read the On the Table Public Input Report

2023 Fayette County Resident Opinion Survey

Fayette Alliance, in partnership with The Matrix Group, conducted an anonymous online survey in the spring of 2023 designed to gauge public opinion on land use policies in Lexington-Fayette County.

In total, 320 residents completed the survey, over 75% of whom live inside the current Urban Service Boundary. Conducted blind, Fayette Alliance was not identified as the sponsor of the survey or resulting research.

The results of the Fayette County Resident Opinion Survey reaffirm the sentiments expressed in the 2022 On the Table public survey — that the vast majority of Lexingtonians are in support of growing in a way that promotes higher density development and infill/redevelopment opportunities.

  • 92% feel that before deciding on USB expansion, a public map should be created that designates areas for long-term preservation in the rural areas.
  • 88% agree that before officials consider expanding the USB, they should focus on infill and redevelopment inside the USB.
  • 82% agree that Lexington should be a model for innovative and sustainable growth by connecting and balancing its vibrant city with its productive and unique farmland.
  • 76.3% of residents want to see more housing built inside the USB, not in the rural areas.
  • 74% do not feel expanding the USB will lower the cost of housing in the long term.
  • 69.1% believe the Urban-County Government and private developers should be responsible for the cost of new infrastructure such as roads, sidewalks, and sewer systems.
  • 18% of residents would vote for a local official who favors expansion
  • 8% of residents believe private developers should guide public infrastructure planning and development 

View the Full Resident Public Opinion Survey


The data from these two public surveys overwhelmingly supports the idea that residents want to grow Lexington in a way that protects Lexington’s unique cultural identity — by focusing on creating more housing through higher density development, encouraging infill/redevelopment, and limiting the negative environmental impacts of urban sprawl.

A singular thought is subjective, but collectively, these thoughts become an objective opinion of the community as a whole. 

An overwhelming majority of the residents of Lexington-Fayette County want to see the city grow in a smart, sustainable, and equitable way.