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Rethink Open Space

Supporting Complete Neighborhoods with Greenspace & Open Space

Intentionally planned access to safe and welcoming open space is critical to achieving equitable development. Well-designed open spaces provide the physical setting for people to gather and create a sense of community while fostering better health through outdoor activity. At the same time, neighborhood greenspaces full of lush vegetation are key to addressing access to nature, air quality, stormwater mitigation, and heat island impacts.

The "Rethink Open Space" initiative is directly linked to the Planning Commission's efforts to implement Imagine Lexington through zoning regulation updates. Lexington's Zoning Ordinance regulations now ensure intentionally designed and equitably distributed open space and greenspace is included in new development projects, supporting the City’s goal of making sure everyone has access to community-focused open space within a 10-minute walk. The update also includes new requirements for vegetated areas, with developer incentives for innovative green infrastructure, like green roofs and rain gardens.

On November 17, 2022 the Planning Commission unanimously recommended APPROVAL of this proposal.  

On January 31, 2023 the Urban County Council unanimously ADOPTED (15-0) the Open Space Zoning Ordinance Text Amendment.

Key Dates & Presentations

September 17, 2020 – Planning Commission Work Session; framework for open space updates introduced (presentation slides)

May 27, 2021 – Planning Commission Work Session; first draft text introduced (presentation slides)

September 30, 2021 – Planning Commission Work Session; Stakeholder outreach update (presentation slides)

September 15, 2022 – Planning Commission Work Session; second draft text introduced (presentation slides)

October 20, 2022 – Planning Commission Work Session; revised text introduced (presentation slides)

November 3, 2022 – Planning Commission Zoning Committee Recommends APPROVAL of revised text

November 17, 2022 – Planning Commission unanimously recommends APPROVAL of revised text (presentation slides / meeting video)

January 19, 2023 - Urban County Council first reading (meeting link)

January 31, 2023 - Urban County Council final reading (final legislation approval link) (meeting link)


Valerie Friedmann

Project Lead

Senior Planner & Greenspace Planner