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The Fayette Alliance Supports Changing the Definition of “Family” to Help Fix Student Housing Issues Around U.K.

Lexington Neighborhood

Lexington Neighborhood

On June 10th, the Urban County Council unanimously adopted this legislation into law.  The Alliance supported this proposal which will promote the property rights of landlords and homeowners, and the quality of life in our established neighborhoods.

This measure will limit the number of unrelated persons living in single-family and two-family homes and the size of house additions, while also giving clarity to both landlords and local government as to what is permitted in residential areas.

This measure will permit limited rental activity. However, it will greatly reduce the prevalence of big box additions and overcrowding in neighborhoods around campus.

As many of you know, U.K. anticipates increasing enrollment by thousands of students over the next decade, without building additional on-campus housing or dormitories–putting pressure on Lexington neighborhoods, especially those next to campus.

While it is not a perfect solution to all of the challenges experienced in student housing areas—for example it does not address the issue of parking—it lays a crucial foundation for achieving a delicate, but necessary balance for good infill redevelopment and healthy density in our city.

Key elements of the proposal are:

University of Kentucky

University of Kentucky

  • Limiting the occupants of single-family and two-family homes to “traditional families”, “housekeeping units”,  “functional families,” and 4-6 non-related persons. Non-traditional families will be included under the definition of “housekeeping units.”
  • Generally defining “functional family” as 5 or more persons who want to live together as a stable housekeeping unit. Such persons include residents of a boarding or lodging house; fraternity, sorority, or dormitory; a lodge, federation, or coterie; an association of seasonal individuals, or a group of people living together as a result of committing criminal offenses. The LFUCG Board of Adjustment will determine who qualifies as a “functional family” on a case-by-case basis
  • Generally limiting additions to 25% of the gross square footage of homes that were historically occupied by 5 or more unrelated persons.
  • Allowing resident families to keep up to two roomers or boarders as a “conditional use” in a one-family or two-family residential zone.
  • The Board of Adjustment will administer, and Building inspection will enforce, these proposed requirements.

Click here for the Alliance’s complete position statement and actual proposed legislation.
ZOTA 2010-1 Zoning Ordinance
ZOTA 2010-1: Alternative Text as Recommended by the Zoning Committee on 5/6/10

If you have any questions or comments about the ZOTA 2010 proposal please contact Knox van Nagell, Executive Director of The Fayette Alliance, at director@fayettealliance.com.  The Fayette Alliance works hard to educate the community about complex land use issues that matter to you.  We’re listening.  Please continue to let us know what you think.

Previous news articles on student housing and the moratorium,

UK launches program to help its students who live off campus”

Excerpt from Kentucky.com, posted August 26, 2010
By Jim Warren

Following last year’s report by the Student Housing Task Force, the University of Kentucky is launching a program to provide a variety of services to its roughly 21,000 students who live off campus.

UK classes start Wednesday, but the new Office of Off Campus Student Services has been in operation for more than a month.

It isn’t widely known, but UK officials hope it will become an indispensable service for students who may need help finding housing, learning their way around town, or just keeping up with local goings on. Among other things, students can go to the office’s Web site, click on the housing locator and peruse lists of private rental housing around Lexington that might meet their needs and budgets…more at Kentucky.com

Read more articles,

“Now that zoning changes are in the works, how will they be enforced? Procedures up in air for rental crackdown,” posted March 29, 2010 Kentucky.com

“Housing compromise wins first council OK: Problems near UK spur changes,” posted March 24, 2010 Kentucky.com

“New office aims to help housing issues,” posted March 23, 2010 KYKernal.com

“Agreement seems near on rental rules: Student housing drives zone changes,” posted March 17, 2010 Kentucky.com

“Council to hear housing changes: Zoning amendments aimed at neighborhoods near UK,” posted March 17, 2010 Kentucky.com

“Restrictions on boarding houses get 1st OK: Changes aimed at big vinyl additions near UK,” posted March 3, 2010 Kentucky.com

“Closure hearing rescheduled for student houses,” posted December 15, 2009 Kentucky.com

“City to get tough on ‘vinyl box’ owners:City seeks injunction against some boarding house owners,” posted December 12, 2009 Kentucky.com

“Lexington panel takes steps to ensure safety of student rentals,” posted November 25, 2009 Kentucky.com

“Higher ed matters: Keeping the peace town and gown,” posted October 29, 2009 www.bizlex.com

“Students ordered out of Woodland Ave. house,” posted November 11, 2009 Kentucky.com

“UK to create office that deals with off-campus housing concerns,” posted October 27, 2009  Kentucky.com

“Todd tours UK neighborhoods,” posted October 17, 2009 Kentucky.com

“Lexington Council OKs moratorium on dorm-like home additions,” posted October 16, 2009 Kentucky.com

“Council moves to contain U.K. students off campus,” posted October 14, 2009 Kentucky.com

“Neighborhood culture clash: Student housing near campus a growing concern,” posted October 11, 2009 Kentucky.com

“Students, landlords reiterate concerns,” posted October 6, 2009 Kentucky.com

“Student Housing Panel to report findings Tuesday,” posted September 21, 2009 Kentucky.com