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Notification Expansion

Engaging the community in a more inclusive way

The Notification Expansion Zoning Ordinance Text Amendment (ZOTA), passed by the Urban County Council on March 3, 2022, will have a significant impact on ensuring that all interested members of the community, including renters, business owners, and employees, have the ability to be involved in the development process, not just those who own property.

The Urban County Council passed a resolution to authorize the Division of Planning to administer an Expanded Hearing Notification Pilot Program for one year, providing expanded notification for zoning map amendments and applications for conditional uses and variances to include owner and non-owner occupied addresses. This will be based on PVA and GIS data.

What Changed?

As it applies to the zoning map amendment and Board of Adjustment processes, the Kentucky Revised Statutes (KRS) require that notification be sent to “an owner of every parcel of property adjoining the property classification of which is proposed to be changed.”

Lexington-Fayette County has already chosen to go above and beyond that and require that “owners of all property within a 500-foot radius of the subject property” for all zone changes and conditional use permits (Articles 6-4 and 7-5 of the Zoning Ordinance, respectively), and “a 200-foot radius of the subject property” for all variances (Zoning Ordinance, Article 7-5) be notified.

For properties that are subject to an application that are adjacent to an existing agriculturally zoned property, supplemental notice is also required. When supplemental notice is necessary an additional two properties beyond the standard notification area are also notified up to 2,400 feet from the subject property.

The Expanded Hearing Notification Pilot Program administered by the Division of Planning requires that owners and occupants of all property addresses be notified in the hopes that notification can be expanded to those community members that may choose to or need to rent, and business owners / employers that may lease their space.

Why Change It?

The Comprehensive Plan calls for increased engagement between applicants and the residents of Lexington-Fayette Urban County in the planning process. The Division of Planning created the “Public Engagement Toolkit” as a response, creating best practice guidance for conducting “meaningful engagement.” As part of the Public Engagement Toolkit, “How the Division of Planning’s processes become easier to understand” focuses on broadening engagement and widening Planning’s notification requirements to include all addresses within the notification radius. This text amendment is in direct response to that action item.

The Planning Commission and the Board of Adjustment utilize letters of notification for their public hearings to inform members of the community within the notification area of the date of the hearing, and to provide important information regarding what is being requested with the application. The notification letter provides a basic level of knowledge, and informs members of the community of potential resources to learn more about a subject application. The notification letter contains contact information for the owner of the property, the applicant, and staff, as well as the record identification number, which can be utilized to access more detailed information about the application through the Accela Citizen Portal.

By providing the information contained within the letter, a member of the community can lend their voice to planning process, either in person or through written correspondence. The inclusion of the public in the planning process is imperative to the creation of a Lexington that is reflective of the community values and more equitable.

Notable Dates

  • June 17, 2021 – Planning Commission Work Session (presentation)

  • July 1, 2021 – Planning Commission Committees

  • Aug. 5, 2021 – Planning Commission Committees

  • Aug. 26, 2021 – Planning Commission Public Hearing (video)

  • Nov. 2, 2021 – Urban County Council Planning & Public Safety Committee (presentation above)

  • February 15, 2022 - Urban County Council Planning & Public Safety Committee

  • February 17, 2022 - First Reading by the Urban County Council

  • March 3, 2022 - Second Reading and Approval by the Urban County Council

    • Resolution to the proposed ZOTA to administer an Expanded Hearing Notification Pilot Program for one year