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A Vote Against Smart Growth

On Thursday, June 1, 2023, Lexington’s Councilmembers voted to prioritize expansion before process — approving between 2,700-5,000 acres to be incorporated into Lexington’s historic Urban Service Boundary. They voted to expand before the completion of a data-driven and long-term strategy to evaluate our growth needs, and before receiving an updated Sustainable Growth Report or updated Sewer Capability Study, which are both expected at the end of this summer.

Fayette Alliance was disappointed that this decision was made contrary to research, data, and the recommendations of the Planning Staff and Planning Commission, whose decisions were based on that data. More importantly, this decision was made contrary to the priorities of the majority of the Lexington community members, who called for a process to evaluate future growth to be completed before a decision to expand the USB.

Thank you to all of our community members who made their voices heard throughout the Goals & Objectives process. Hundreds of residents advocated for smart, sustainable, and equitable growth by encouraging our elected officials to implement a data-driven process to guide Lexington-Fayette County’s future development.

The elected officials (3) who voted against the expansion proposal were: Vice Mayor Dan Wu, 3rd District CM Hannah LeGris, and 10th District CM Dave Sevigny.

The elected officials (10) who voted in support of the expansion proposal were: CM-at-Large Chuck Ellinger, CM-at-Large James Brown, 1st District CM Tayna Fogle, 4th District CM Brenda Monarrez, 5th District CM Liz Sheehan, 6th District CM Denise Gray, 7th District CM Fred Brown, 8th District CM Preston Worley, 9th District CM Whitney Baxter, and 11th District CM Jennifer Reynolds. Two Councilmembers were absent; 2nd District CM Shayla Lynch and 12th District CM Kathy Plomin.

If you’d like to reach out to Councilmembers about their vote on this issue, please find their email addresses here: https://www.lexingtonky.gov/browse/government/council.

As it stands now, the difficult job of identifying land outside the Urban Services Boundary for potential development and planning for growth (infrastructure, land uses, etc.) in the area(s) identified would be the job of the Planning Commission and Planning Staff, who are charged with completing an Expansion Area Master Plan by December 1, 2024.

Creating a new master plan for this expansion area will inevitably delay the creation and implementation of a data-driven process to growth. This is a setback for smart growth in Lexington-Fayette County — a setback that could have been avoided if our Council had chosen to focus on the process before expansion. But, the devil will be in the details, which will be essential in ensuring any new growth is equitable, sustainable, and thoughtful. We will keep advocating, educating, and researching to achieve our mission.

The 2045 Goals & Objectives will require two readings by the Council by Thursday, June 15th.

Stay tuned for more information and next steps.