Expansion into the Rural Area off the Table…What Next in the Comp. Plan?
Our community experienced a major victory this spring, when city hall announced that Lexington would focus growth inside its current city limits and avoid expanding development into the rural area for the foreseeable future.
In the past, the expansion of the Urban Service Boundary dominated discussions during the Comprehensive Plan—which is Lexington’s blueprint for how and where our community will grow over the next five years. This plan has huge impacts on the future direction of our community.
Updating the Comp. Plan is a two-year process—which started in spring 2011. The Alliance has been involved since the plan’s early stages, advocating for farmland protection, responsible development, and improved water quality and infrastructure in Lexington.
Currently, the Planning Commission and Council are in the first phase of the update, where they draft the Goals and Objectives (G&Os) of the plan. The G&Os provide the over-arching themes for the Comp Plan, and impact zone changes and other land-use legislation at city hall.
The G&Os have the potential to impact rural preservation, quality of life in neighborhoods, incentivizing development, greenways, and affordable housing projects and cleaning up our polluted waterways, among other issues. However, the current draft of the G&Os doesn’t properly address these important issues.
We need your help. Tell Planning Commission you support farmland preservation and sustainable growth measures in the Goals and Objectives.
Tell Planning Commission you support farmland preservation and sustainable growth.
Sample email to send to Planning Commission (2012CompPlan@lexingtonky.gov):
I Support Farmland Preservation & Sustainable Growth
Dear Chairman Cravens and Planning Commissioners,
I am writing you today as a concerned citizen of Lexington-Fayette County. Sustainable growth is critically important to our economy, quality of life, and environment. Therefore, I ask that you adopt The Fayette Alliance’s proposed changes to the current draft of the Goals and Objectives, including:
1. The community vision statement that emphasizes using an informed and sustainable growth strategy that will protect and leverage what makes Lexington-Fayette County so unique. This approach will create a powerful economic, quality of life, and environmental destination for Lexingtonians and visitors alike:
“The 2012 Comprehensive Plan will provide planning guidance to ensure that the development of our community’s finite resources and infrastructure promotes healthy neighborhoods, preserves our unique Bluegrass landscape that anchors our signature agricultural industries, and protects our physical and natural environment. This sustainable and informed growth strategy will create a powerful and marketable economic destination attractive to Lexingtonians, companies, and creative entrepreneurial professionals through strengthening Lexington Fayette County’s international brand as “Horse capital of the World’, unique quality of life, and regional planning and economic development partnerships.”
2. The new Goals and Objectives that incentivize and achieve sustainable development, affordable housing, quality of life in neighborhoods, innovative community design, and environmental excellence in Lexington-Fayette County. (link to our proposed G&O draft)
3. The new Goal and Objective that calls for the protection and promotion of our precious Bluegrass farmland for the benefit of the public—which constitutes the “factory floor” of its acclaimed “Horse Capital of the World” and general agriculture brand:
a. Maintain a balance between planning for urban uses and safeguarding rural land, by implementing the following policies:
i. Maintain the current boundaries of the Urban Service Area and Rural Activity Centers. Future expansion of these boundaries may be considered, if a substantial community need is documented in future Comprehensive Plan updates; and
ii. Continue to monitor and document the absorption of vacant and underutilized land within the current Urban Service Area, using uniform criteria, maps, and zoning models available for public review and discussion; and
iii. Encourage compact, contiguous, and/or mixed-use sustainable development practices within the current Urban Services Area to accommodate our future growth needs; and
iv. Reaffirm and adopt the stated Goals, Objectives, and recommendations of The Rural Service Area Land Management Plan; and
v. Support the Purchase of Development Rights Program and private sector farmland conservation programs to protect, preserve, and enhance our signature agricultural industries, historic structures and cultural landscapes, natural environment, and community welfare.
Thank you for your consideration, and dedication to Lexington-Fayette County.
We’ll keep you updated as The Fayette Alliance continues to promote these essential policies at government on behalf of our community.
Thank you for your help. Supporters like you ensure that we continue to promote a sustainable Lexington that benefits all of us.
“The 2011 Comprehensive Plan”, Alliance Director Knox van Nagell, 5.3.11, ProgressLex.org
“Growing Lexington Where?”, WEKU News
“Gray: Focus our growth within existing urban area”, LexintonKY.gov