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Agritourism Economic Opportunities

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.

Goals and Objectives

GOAL B3: Apply environmentally sustainable practices to protect, conserve and restore landscapes and natural resources.

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

GOAL D3: Protect and enhance the natural and cultural landscapes that give Lexington-Fayette County its unique identity and image.

Objective: D3a

Protect historic resources and archaeological sites.

GOAL E1: Uphold the Urban Service Area concept.

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.

GOAL E2: Support the agricultural economy, horse farms, general agricultural farms and the rural character of the Rural Service Area.

Objective: E2a

Protect and enhance the natural, cultural, historic and environmental resources of Lexington-Fayette County's Rural Service Area and Bluegrass farmland to help promote the general agricultural brand and ensure Lexington-Fayette County remains the Horse Capital of the World.

Objective: E2b

Support the Purchase of Development Rights and private sector farmland conservation programs to protect, preserve and enhance our signature agricultural industries, historic structures, cultural landscapes, natural environments and community welfare.