Default alt text

Adaptive Reuse Ordinance

Update the Adaptive Reuse Ordinance

The creation of the Adaptive Reuse provisions in the Wholesale Warehouse (B-4) and Light Industrial (I-1) zones was a boon to Lexington’s economy. Adaptive reuse projects were typically located in areas where the original land uses were no longer desirable because of their lack of proximity to major travel corridors. Many of these older industrial areas are also located very close to well established neighborhoods, because housing within walking distance of these major employers was highly desirable. Over time, some of these places were long forgotten by the public and written off as “old industrial areas”, or worse, perceived to be vacant brownfields or blighted areas that residents feared to drive through. However, there were others who had a vision for renovation and reinvigoration, but they were hampered by the zoning requirements at the time, especially because of onerous suburban parking provisions that would otherwise have led to the demolition of existing buildings simply to provide for more surface parking. The Adaptive Reuse provisions have allowed underutilized areas to find new life as retail, residential and commercial space, softening the blow to the local economy by relatively quickly returning that land to productive and desirable land uses.

The Zoning Ordinance was modified in 2006 to permit industrial mixed-use projects to implement a concept and recommendation of the Newtown Pike Extension Corridor Plan, which was adopted by the Planning Commission in 2002. The adaptive reuse provisions were later adopted in 2008, as a logical progression of that concept, which allowed for the creation of the Distillery District and, later, the West SIxth Brewery. Both projects sparked a redevelopment along their respective corridors that continues today.

While the enabling ordinance for these projects has clearly been successful, some adaptive reuse projects have also created unintended consequences that are not being adequately addressed through the development plan process, specifically nuisance issues for neighboring properties and a lack of quality pedestrian improvements in the corridors to encourage alternatives for people to access these popular areas. Like any good regulating document, the Ordinance should be periodically reviewed to ensure that the community’s desired outcomes are being met. The Zoning Ordinance--specifically the locational and project criteria, the list of permitted uses, and the parking requirements--should be reviewed and updated to account for the subsequent policy shifts of the last two comprehensive plans.

Action Item(s)

  • Update the Adaptive Reuse Ordinance.

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: 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.

There are no objectives related to this policy that further this particular goal.

GOAL C1: Support and showcase local assets to further the creation of a variety of jobs.

Objective: C1b

Strengthen regulations and policies that propel the agricultural economy, including, but not limited to, local food production and distribution, agritourism and the equine industry that showcase Lexington-Fayette County as the Horse Capital of the World.

Objective: C1d

Encourage development that promotes and enhances tourism.

Objective: C1e

Encourage developers of government-funded or subsidized projects to employ residents in the vicinity.