Urban & Rural Balance
At the heart of every discussion about the future of Lexington is the balance between urban growth and rural protection and preservation. Lexington is a growing city and has agricultural assets worth preserving, but how can both be achieved? The answer is by growing intelligently through compact, fiscally responsible development patterns, the foundation of which was established in this city as the nation’s first urban service boundary.
This pattern of development has numerous benefits, including infrastructure cost savings, desirable placemaking opportunities, multimodal transportation options, enhanced connectivity, healthier communities, vibrant neighborhood-serving businesses, preservation of irreplaceable farmland, and many others as well. Smart growth patterns and rural preservation go hand-in-hand.
Where are we now?
Lexington’s urban growth is coupled with rural protections that have resulted in a desirable community with a more fiscally responsible development pattern than is typical of other areas throughout the United States.
The city of Lexington is comprised of 285 square miles, 85 squares miles of which are included in the Urban Service Boundary (USB). Roughly ¼ of the remaining 200 square miles are protected by the Purchase of Development Rights program, which safeguards farmland for food security and conservation of environmentally sensitive lands.
As of 2017 the U.S. Census estimated that the City of Lexington had a population of 321,959, a figure that has consistently increased over the years. Senior citizens will account for the greatest percentage of Lexington’s projected population increase.
The 2017 Housing Demand Study found a need for ~2,300 new housing units annually over the next 10 years. Infill and redevelopment will continue to be the foremost development strategy for the city. The amount of vacant land available for infill projects is roughly 10% of land within the USB. There are also significant redevelopment opportunities in the underutilized property along the city’s major arterial corridors.