Richard Moloney- 2018 Candidate Questionnaire
Running for: At-Large
I have experience and a proven track record for getting things done. I have worked with 5 mayors, 8 vice mayors and more than 50 council members through the years, and I am known for my ability to bring people together to solve problems and address important issues. I am fair, compassionate and approachable, and I am not afraid to take on difficult problems.
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 voted to adopt the Goals and Objectives of the 2018 Comprehensive Plan, which prioritize infill and redevelopment as our growth strategy. In general, I do not support expansion of the Urban Services Boundary or Rural Activity Centers except for the areas that are along our interstates where infrastructure and sewer capacity already exist.
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?
There are zoning ordinances, overlays and land use restrictions that help protect existing neighborhoods, but infill and redevelopment will present challenges. NIMBY (not in my back yard) is a real problem and developers will have to creatively blend new projects into the character of the established neighborhoods.
3. What specific recommendations do you have to address Lexington’s affordable housing issue?
I support the Affordable Housing Program and the annual budget allocation to the Affordable Housing Fund. This program has been effective at leveraging public and private investment to develop housing options for individuals and families at or below 80% of the area median income. There are several other agencies, such as REACH and the Lexington Housing Authority, that are also working hard to provide affordable housing options in our community.
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?
I voted to adopt the Goals and Objectives of the Comprehensive Plan, which has specific recommendations for neighborhood design that will help the quality of life for our aging population. I do see the need for additional senior and assisted living facilities and there are several new developments of this type underway.
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 voted for the annual funding of the PDR program for many budget cycles and I am very pleased with the success of this program. Looking to the future, we need to enhance agricultural productivity and I foresee tremendous potential in hemp production. If elected, I will work to establish a hemp processing center in Fayette County, which will be a big boost to our economy.
6. Citizens have noted frustration with traffic congestion. What are your specific ideas to address traffic congestion?
Every community will have traffic congestion at certain times of the day due to the volume of cars during commuter and school hours. There are also a number of large construction projects underway in Lexington that require lane closures that cause traffic backups. The good folks in our Division of Traffic Engineering are actually quite responsive to changes in traffic patterns and can adapt signals to ease congestion, and there are several innovative apps that drivers can use to help plan their driving to avoid congested areas.
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 am looking forward to results of the study, due in July 2020, which hopefully will recommend a new process to guide future growth and development. I want to make sure that we continue to have a transparent process that includes public input, and that balances control of important decisions between the Council and the Planning Commission. I also expect an objective, data-driven process to evaluate land use and capacity so that it is not such a polarizing political issue that sets preservationists against developers. We need to work together for smart growth.
8. What is the biggest challenge facing Lexington? What are your specific recommendations to address that challenge?
In the next few years we will face several fiscal challenges, but I think the pension funding is the biggest issue in the next 4 budget cycles. We will have to reduce spending and come up with new revenue to meet our pension commitment. I want job growth and economic development to drive revenue, but we will also need to control spending on projects and programs. On the Council, I have consistently been the only one asking tough questions about the affordability of several big projects, and I have voiced my concerns about the pension fund’s impact on our budget. We will have to make difficult decisions.