Encourage economic opportunities for a wide array of agritourism while preserving the Bluegrass identity.
Agritourism is an increasingly important part of Lexington tourism, and with recent developments like the creation of Horse Country, which has accounted for over 70,000 horse farm tours alone since its inception, and Boone Creek Outdoors zip line canopy tours, the timing is right to continue with that momentum. Efforts should be made to ensure that the local Fayette County extension office and the Kentucky USDA know about the agritourism uses allowed in Lexington’s rural service area, so farmers are aware of the options they may have for additional revenue streams. These opportunities have the potential to supplement farmers’ primary business operations and may allow some farms to remain viable, where it might otherwise be difficult.
However, these opportunities should be monitored and conditional uses closely scrutinized, using the Rural Land Management Plan as a guide. It is important that tourism uses for the agricultural land do not have a negative impact on the farming practices that are vital to the Lexington economy. It is possible to have a thriving agritourism industry while maintaining the integrity of the agricultural area, and it should be encouraged as a primary component of Lexington’s tourism strategy.
The zoning ordinance for the A-R Agricultural Rural, A-B Agricultural Buffer, and A-N Agricultural zones currently allow several accessory uses that are related to agritourism. Further, tourism-related conditional uses are currently listed as options in the A-R zone with Board of Adjustment approval; while some are permitted in the A-B and A-N zones, others require environmental approval.