Susan Lamb- 2018 Candidate Questionnaire
Running for: Urban County Council- District 4
Susan grew up in the small town of Bagdad, Kentucky. She lived on a farm and learned the value of hard work and dedication at a young age. She worked for the Urban County Government for 27 years learning about the inner workings of government. She knows the importance of educating the public about local government through implementing numerous projects to increase the level of transparency within the Urban County Government. In 2014, Susan decided to run for office to continue her public service in a new role. Susan was successful in defeating the incumbent for the Urban County Council 4th District seat and has served two terms. Susan was selected by her colleagues to Chair a standing Council Committee as a 1st term councilmember and continues to chair the General Government and Social Services Committee. In her campaign and still to this day, she strives to listen, respond and respect the needs of all communities in the district. With energy and enthusiasm, Susan brings her expertise and knowledge of city government to work for the citizens of Lexington.
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 do support prioritizing infill/redevelopment and believe we need to have intentional discussions with our neighborhoods about infill/redevelopment property. I would like to work with city planners and neighborhoods to identify what infill/redevelopment property looks like within our neighborhoods. Once we are able to recognize it, then we can discuss what type of development can be considered and how that could benefit or impact our neighborhoods. Having these discussions early on would be beneficial to neighborhoods so they can collaborate more when infill/redevelopment projects come forward. With expansion of the Urban Service Boundary, we must identify proper infrastructure such as capacity of sanitary sewers, storm sewers and roads for connectivity. Also, with new development comes expansion of services such as garbage and refuse collection, more areas for police patrol and fire stations. Public transportation is another important component for new development especially if you develop residential with accessories such as restaurants and retail shopping.
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?
I concur with our 2018 Comprehensive Plan Goals and Objectives. We need to encourage creativity and sustainability in housing development and prioritize higher-density and mixture of housing types. We also need to plan for safe, affordable and accessible housing to meet the needs of older and/or disadvantaged residents. Plus we need to create and implement housing incentives that strengthen the opportunities for higher-density and housing affordability.
3. What specific recommendations do you have to address Lexington’s affordable housing issue?
Lexington’s Affordable Housing Program was created in 2014 to help create affordable housing for households at or below 80 percent of area median income ($54,550 for a family of four). The program consists of three parts: the Affordable Housing Fund, the Affordable Housing Governing Board and the Office of Affordable Housing. The mission of the Affordable Housing Fund is to leverage public investment to preserve, produce, and provide safe, quality, affordable housing. The Affordable Housing Fund was created with an initial allocation of $3 million from Lexington’s FY 2014 general fund budget. Annual allocations of at least $2 million were adopted by Ordinance 103-2014. I fully support to continue annual allocations for Lexington’s Affordable Housing Program.
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?
We have to look at the types of housing our senior population needs whether it is home ownership or rental. We are looking into accessory dwelling units which are separate structures that can be built by an immediate family member who needs to provide a safe living environment for their aging family member. The 4th District has a large population of homeowners aged 65 or older and, since I have been on Council, I have known several who had to move to assisted living facilities. I would like to see our neighborhoods continue to grow with a more diversified population so there are opportunities to learn from each other as well as looking out for one another.
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 for Lexington’s Purchase of Development Rights Program. This program protects our wonderful farmland preserving and managing agricultural, rural and natural lands. We have protected 30,000 acres and the goal for the program is 50,000. The funding sources used thus far have been general appropriations from city government, general obligation bonds and state and federal transfers. Creating a dedicated funding source has been tossed around for years now and I believe we need to create a task force to look into this so we can identify options.
6. Citizens have noted frustration with traffic congestion. What are your specific ideas to address traffic congestion?
Our corridor roads are very congested specifically at peak hours. I believe we need to review options about the timing of our lights. The peak hour lane changes that are in place on Nicholasville Road seem to help move traffic but we are limited on certain corridor roads because of medians that divide the roads. We need to continue working with the State to encourage improvements at major intersections such as Richmond Rd/New Circle Rd and Tates Creek Rd/New Circle Rd. These intersection improvements would help to move traffic much like Harrodsburg Rd/New Circle Rd.
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?
Creating a new process for determining long-term land use decisions must involve diverse stakeholders and constituents from both agricultural and development backgrounds. Our community must come together to realize the values of long-term preservation of our rural areas and where infill and redevelopment can take place and what it looks like. We need to continue educating our community about the economic value of our agricultural land and impact of infill and redevelopment in our neighborhoods that doesn’t always have to be negative.
8. What is the biggest challenge facing your district? What are your specific recommendations to address that challenge?
I believe one of the challenges facing the 4th District is traffic management in the neighborhoods. The 4th District is bound by Tates Creek Road and Nicholasville Road and there are numerous cut-through streets. During peak hour travel times, more cars choose to travel through the 4th District rather than stay on the main corridors. We will continue to increase police presence to ensure those drivers obey the speed limits and stop signs. We also continue to discuss with Traffic Engineering possible traffic calming solutions. We have added more signage to ensure drivers know the speed limits and continue to update those signs within the neighborhoods. We want our neighborhoods to be a safe place for pedestrians and bicyclists as well as other drivers.