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Accessory Dwelling Units

Provide affordable and/or compact residential options through Accessory Dwelling Units.

An Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) is defined as a second, smaller detached dwelling on the same property, or one that is attached to an existing single-family house, such as a basement or over-the-garage apartment. As Lexington continues to grow, ADUs can play a role in meeting the overall housing demand.

ADUs are not a new idea, and examples of them can be found throughout the United States. Old alley apartments in DC, or carriage houses in fine old Seattle homes, have been around for a long time, but they fell out of favor in the middle of the 20th century. Now they are an increasingly popular and important housing option in urbanizing cities today. Where Lexington has traditionally had a significant portion of its development controlled by a handful of developer/builders, ADUs essentially create a whole new market (a ‘cottage’ industry, if you will) for small builders to construct a housing product the community needs. There is tremendous opportunity to enhance existing neighborhoods by building new context sensitive ADUs. In areas where property values have increased dramatically and tear-down/rebuilds have started to shift the appearance of the neighborhood, the creation of an accessory dwelling unit could make retention of an existing principal structure more economically viable. Cities and neighborhoods are always changing and evolving. They are either improving or declining. Enhancing existing neighborhoods means not preserving them exactly as they have always been; rather, steering their evolution in a way that benefits those residents, while making it accessible to as many people as possible.

Goals and Objectives

GOAL A1: Expand housing choices

Objective: A1a

Pursue incentives and regulatory approaches that encourage creativity and sustainability in housing development.

Objective: A1b

Accommodate the demand for housing in Lexington responsibly, prioritizing higher-density and mixture of housing types.

Objective: A1c

Plan for safe, affordable and accessible housing to meet the needs of older and/or disadvantaged residents.

Objective: A1d

Create and implement housing incentives that strengthen the opportunities for higher-density and housing affordability.

GOAL A2: Support infill and redevelopment throughout the Urban Service Area as a strategic component of growth.

Objective: A2a

Identify areas of opportunity for infill, redevelopment, adaptive reuse, and mixed-use development.

Objective: A2b

Respect the context and design features of areas surrounding development projects and develop design standards and guidelines to ensure compatibility with existing urban form.

Objective: A2d

Implement innovative programs, such as the public infrastructure fund and land bank programs, to facilitate sustainable development, including, but not limited to, housing, affordable at all income levels, and commercial and economic activity.

GOAL A3: Provide well-designed neighborhoods and communities.

Objective: A3a

Enable existing and new neighborhoods to flourish through improved regulation, expanded opportunities for neighborhood character preservation, and public commitment to expand options for mixed-use and mixed-type housing throughout Lexington-Fayette County

Objective: A3b

Strive for positive and safe social interactions in neighborhoods, including, but not limited to, neighborhoods that are connected for pedestrians and various modes of transportation.

GOAL B2: Reduce Lexington-Fayette County’s carbon footprint.

Objective: B2a

Continue programs and initiatives to improve energy efficiency.

GOAL E1: Uphold the Urban Service Area concept.

Objective: E1a

Continue to monitor the absorption of vacant and underutilized land within the Urban Service Area.

Objective: E1b

Ensure all types of development are environmentally, economically, and socially sustainable to accommodate the future growth needs of all residents while safeguarding rural land.

Objective: E1d

Maximize development on vacant land within the Urban Service Area and promote redevelopment of underutilized land in a manner that enhances existing urban form and/or historic features.