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Policies Related to Housing

Theme A - Density Policy 1 - High Density Corridors & Downtown

The highest density of our residential development should be directed to our major corridors and downtown.

Given Lexington’s ever-increasing population, the community’s expressed desire to create exciting walkable places, and the goal of preserving valuable agricultural land, density is very important. However, high density development is not appropriate in every context.

Theme A - Density Policy 2 - Infill Residential & Context Sensitivity

Infill residential can and should aim to increase density while enhancing existing neighborhoods through context sensitive design.
In areas where the preservation of existing neighborhood design characteristics is of high importance, infill residential should apply the recurring building patterns of the area. It is wholly possible to add residential units while matching the consistent rhythm of existing development, so that the new seamlessly blends in with the old.

Theme A - Density Policy 4 - Density to Support Transit

Generally, locate high-density areas of development along higher capacity roadways (minor arterial, collector) to facilitate future transit enhancements.
This plan recommends that the highest density development should be concentrated toward the major corridors and downtown to facilitate transit-oriented development that would begin to support Bus Rapid Transit opportunities.

Theme A - Density Policy 5 - 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.

Theme A - Density Policy 6 - Compact Single-Family Housing

Allow and encourage new compact single-family housing types.

Lexington needs more housing of all types as its population continues to grow. The 2017 Housing Demand Study shows that single-family residential options continue to be popular and will be for the foreseeable future.

Theme A - Design Policy 12 - Neighborhood Commercial

Support neighborhood level commercial areas.

In many neighborhoods developed decades ago, the commercial areas designated to serve as neighborhood focal points have become poorly utilized or have slowly deteriorated and need additional investment. Proactively rezoning these sites from Neighborhood Business (B-1) to Commercial Center Zone (B-6P) would afford new flexibility at a neighborhood scale.

Theme A - Design Policy 3 - Multi-Family Design Standards

Multi-family residential developments should comply with the multi-family design standards in Appendix A.
In the Winburn Small Area plan, design standards were created in order to address neighborhood concerns and to ensure that many of the problems historically created through poor design would not be repeated in the future.

Theme A - Design Policy 8 - Provide Varied Housing

Provide varied housing choice.
By providing housing choices within a neighborhood, residents of a community have greater options of where to live, particularly when the components of housing choice include access to jobs and schools, affordability, and housing type. Diverse neighborhoods feature town-homes, apartments,condominiums and duplex housing adjacent to and mixed with single-family homes.

Theme A - Equity Policy 1 - Housing for All Income Levels

Meet the demand for housing across all income levels.

This Comprehensive Plan does not seek to be antagonistic toward growth and new residential development; on the contrary, continued growth is vitally important and Lexington should encourage intense (re)development in the most appropriate areas to provide housing for all.

Theme A - Equity Policy 2 - Affordable Fair Housing

Provide affordable housing across all areas, affirmatively furthering fair housing, complying with HUD guidance.

According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) is a legal requirement that federal agencies and federal grantees further the purposes of the Fair Housing Act.

Theme A - Equity Policy 3 - Up-Zone near Transit

Add residential opportunities by proactively up-zoning areas near transit for populations who rely solely on public transportation.
In transit opportunity areas identified in subsequent corridor studies, the government should consider up-zoning properties to allow and encourage more intense uses that support transit. Where neighborhoods already exist along these corridors, appropriate transitions and step-downs should be used, but should not otherwise deter development of additional housing.

Theme A - Equity Policy 4 - Land Bank, Community Land Trust, Vacant Land Commission

Preserve and enhance existing affordable housing through the land bank, community land trust and vacant land commission.
Previous Comprehensive Plans laid the groundwork for the currently existing program infrastructure to serve our affordable housing needs. Subsequent steps need to address the ongoing funding and identify methods for making sure these programs reach the critical mass of assets needed to become self-sufficient.

Theme A - Equity Policy 5 - Improve Code Enforcement Policies

Protect affordable housing tenants through improved code enforcement policies.

A rental property registration program to proactively address substandard housing conditions would help alleviate the current culture where residents are wary of contacting Code Enforcement to report violations for fear that they may lose the roof over their head.

Theme A - Equity Policy 6 - Senior Housing though ADUs

Provide flexibility for senior housing through Accessory Dwelling Units.

Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) provide significant opportunities for older residents to age in place. They allow them to retain their properties through subsidizing their incomes with rental revenue, while they continue to inhabit the property.

Theme A - Equity Policy 8 - Universal Design Principles

Housing developments should implement Universal Design principles on a portion of their units.

In order to support aging in place and recognize the increasing senior housing need, Universal Design principles should be incorporated into neighborhood developments where possible. Seven principles were developed by a diverse group of professional designers to create environments that are easily accessible, understood, and used by as many people as possible.

Theme B - Sustainability Policy 3 - Transit-Oriented Development

Encourage Transit-Oriented Development, increase density along major corridors and in the Infill and Redevelopment Area to support transit ridership, thus reducing vehicle miles traveled (VMT).

Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) refers to communities with high quality public transit services, good walkability, and compact, mixed land use.

Theme B - Sustainability Policy 4 - Accessible Greenspace

Make recommendations to locate new development within walking distance of existing greenspace / community centers, or create greenspace / community centers within walking distance of residential uses.

Development should provide greenspace or other community gathering spaces within walking distance of residents, especially if these amenities are not otherwise provided.

Strategic and walkable placement of amenities and greenspace is important as it provides for a high quality of life, but also because it reduces the vehicle miles traveled.

Theme B - Sustainability Policy 8 - STAR Community Rating Program

Encourage Lexington to join the STAR Community rating program.

STAR Communities is a nonprofit organization that works to evaluate, improve, and certify sustainable communities. They administer the STAR Community Rating System (STAR), the nation’s first framework and certification program for local sustainability. Cities and counties use STAR to measure their progress across social, economic and environmental performance areas.

Theme C - Diversity Policy 6 - Home Occupation Flexibility

Increase flexibility on types of home occupations allowed.

The advances in communication and information technology, especially the impact of home computers and the internet, allow for more mobile businesses and working from home. Eliminating the commute to work, avoiding the cost of leasing or owning space for a business, and being near loved ones are among the reasons that make working from home attractive.

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Theme C - Livability Policy 6 - Attract & Retain Young Professionals

Attract and retain young professionals by improving affordable housing opportunities, amenities, and entertainment options that are attractive to them.

In 2017, a survey titled “The Experience Movement: How Millennials are Bridging Cultural & Political Divides Offline” was conducted by Eventbrite and Harris Poll. It revealed that most millennials would rather spend their money on experiences or events than on tangible things. Millennials have a common fear of missing out on an enjoyable event or experience that others are having.

Theme C - Livability Policy 7 - Multimodal & Mixed-Use Community

Continue to create a true multimodal and mixed-use community with safe and quality access to community facilities, greenspace, employment, neighborhoods businesses, shopping, and entertainment.

Walkscore is a website that scores neighborhoods based on a formula that assesses a neighborhood’s walkability, bikeability, and multimodal service on a scale from 1 to 100. In reviewing local Lexington scores, some areas scored much higher in walk and bike scores than others.

Theme D - Placemaking Policy 11 - 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.

Theme D - Placemaking Policy 12 - Underutilized Commercial Property

Analyze underutilized commercial property through corridor land use and transportation studies.

The goals and objectives of this comprehensive plan very plainly call for an intensification of the major corridors. Other proposed policies throughout the document have taken aim at the regulatory side of the equation. Another critical aspect of this policy framework is to engage the public along these corridors about these issues and what forms these intensifications may take.

Theme D - Placemaking Policy 13 - Downtown Master Plan

Update the Downtown Master Plan.

The current Downtown Master Plan focused largely on specified projects and proposed infill locations. Since its adoption, the identified projects have largely either been completed or jettisoned for one reason or another. Further, the broad focus on infill lot identification did little to provide guidance on how those properties should develop.

Theme D - Placemaking Policy 2 - Retrofit Incomplete Suburbs

Retrofit incomplete suburban developments, incorporating elements that create complete neighborhoods.

For decades, Lexington embraced strong Euclidian zoning as a way to protect residential uses from the negative externalities of incompatible land uses. However, the market has seen a significant shift in residential consumer preferences, to which Lexington must respond and address with more modern zoning regulations.

Theme D - Placemaking Policy 3 - Placemaking Design Standards

Establish design standards for placemaking.

Having thoughtful design standards that are both flexible and responsive to diverse conditions is an essential component of moving toward a community filled with special places that are inviting and memorable.

Theme D - Placemaking Policy 6 - Expansion Area Master Plan

Amend the Expansion Area Master Plan to update the remaining residential area to reflect the 2018 Comprehensive Plan’s Goals and Objectives.

The adoption of the Expansion Area Master Plan (EAMP) in 1996 created a framework for zoning and public infrastructure that was entirely new to Lexington. However, there has been a significant shift in development patterns and land costs since that plan was adopted.

Theme D - Placemaking Policy 9 - Enhance Lexington's History

Honor Lexington’s history by requiring new development and redevelopments to enhance the cultural, physical, and natural resources that have shaped the community.

Lexington’s history can be told in many ways, but none better than to look around and see the cultural places, the important structures, and the natural landscapes that created this community.

Theme D - Support Policy 9 - Accessible & Affordable Housing

Implement creative housing opportunities that are both accessible & affordable for seniors & people with disabilities.

The “baby boom” generation has historically not conformed to status quo; instead, this group has been trailblazers for the types of social change that tend to give the individual more autonomy in all things. For instance, this group changed the way childbirth was perceived.

Theme E - Accountability Policy 2 - Modernize the Zoning Ordinance

Modernize the Zoning Ordinance to reflect the direction of the 2018 Comprehensive Plan, proactively planning for the next 20 years of growth.

The last major overhaul of Lexington’s Zoning Ordinance in 1983, much needed in the wake of the City and County merger, also included significant revisions to the Land Subdivision Regulations. There was a focus on raising the bar for future development and ensuring that public infrastructure be built to standards that more adequately addressed public health and safety.

Theme E - Accountability Policy 3 - Implement the Placebuilder

Implement the Placebuilder, which includes criteria for zone change applications, based upon the goals and objectives, to ensure development compliance with the Comprehensive Plan.

Imagine Lexington is full of policies that guide how development should occur throughout the city, and all of them are important. However, it can be difficult to ascertain by simply glancing at the text of the plan what developers should be aiming for with new proposed development or redevelopment.

Theme E - Accountability Policy 4 - Develop Benchmarks & Metrics

Develop growth benchmarks and determine best measurable methods to monitor them and report progress on a regular basis.

Plans are only as good as their ability to gauge measurable results in a timely fashion. To know if a plan is reaching desired outcomes, it is imperative to track the successes and failures so future adjustments can be made and successes replicated. Imagine Lexington is crafted as a policy-based plan with very specific goals in mind.

Theme E - Growth Policy 1 - Infill & Redevelopment Area Regulations

Revisit Infill and Redevelopment Area regulations to ensure they are compatible with Imagine Lexington and are encouraging desired development.

The first Infill & Redevelopment Committee was created in 1996, which led to the 2001 Residential I/R Study, official adoption of the defined Infill & Redevelopment Area in the 2001 Comprehensive Plan, and subsequent regulatory changes to implement the Plan.

Theme E - Growth Policy 10 - Underutilized Property

Support the enhancement, reuse, and/or redevelopment of underutilized property to fit the changing retail landscape, increase development viability, and bolster enhanced mass transit options.

Since the beginning of the century, the United States has seen significant growth in annual e- commerce sales. Shifts in consumer behavior, particularly among millennials, have contributed to a near 15% increase in online sales revenue every year since 2010.

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Theme E - Growth Policy 11 - Land Use Changes

Imagine Lexington anticipates a variety of land use changes will occur throughout the Urban Service Area and recommends those that are in agreement with the goals, objectives, and policies within this Comprehensive Plan. Land use changes alone in an area are not sufficient to constitute major changes of an economic, physical, or social nature as provided in state statute for the approval of a zone map amendment.

State statue provides direction on the findings necessary for proposed map amendments or zone changes. The primary threshold to clear is that the proposal must be in agreement with the adopted comprehensive plan.

Theme E - Growth Policy 4 - Adaptive Reuse

Promote the adaptive reuse of existing structures.

Structures often outlive the function that they were built to serve, and there is nothing new about stabilizing and rehabbing an old structure; however, under modern Zoning Ordinance provisions, refitting an old building for a new use is often problematic, particularly given the existing suburban parking requirements.

Theme E - Growth Policy 6 - New Development & Historic Districts

Address new development context along the boundaries of existing Historic Districts to enhance historic areas while encouraging infill and redevelopment.

Traditionally, the application of zoning has been almost universally about softening the edges of varying land uses against each other. American economic shifts have resulted in less need for stepdown zoning, as today planners are less likely to need to address mitigating the impacts of manufacturing and industrial uses on less intense areas directly adjacent.

Theme E - Growth Policy 8 - Proactively Rezone Properties

Identify catalytic redevelopment opportunities to proactively rezone properties, clear regulatory hurdles, and expedite redevelopment in key areas that will ignite further economic growth.

Previous small area plans, which contained future land use recommendations, have been critical to facilitating future development in those locations. Recommendations in the South Nicholasville Road Small Area Plan led the way for The Summit at Fritz Farm, an area that had been the subject of numerous failed zone change attempts in the past.

Theme E - Growth Policy 9 - Missing Middle Housing

Support the “Missing Middle Housing” types throughout Lexington.

Historically, Lexington and many other cities were built with a mix of housing types that included single-family homes, small four-plexes, carriage houses, stacked duplexes, courtyard apartments, and larger apartment clusters, all with fewer off-street parking spaces in walkable neighborhoods that were the fundamental building blocks of the city.

Theme E - Stewardship Policy 2 - Connect Regional Economic Hubs

Capitalize on the diverse economic development, housing, and tourism opportunities throughout the Bluegrass Region and engage in discussions to further connect regional economic hubs.

As Lexington’s economic and social capital grows, there will be impacts on surrounding counties and cities. The latent effects of these successes can change neighboring communities in a variety of ways, including their economies, housing stock, and industrial development.

Theme E - Stewardship Policy 7 - Consult with Adjacent Counties

Consult with planning departments of adjacent counties to find common Comprehensive Plan goals, objectives and implementation items where shared benefits could be gained by working together.

Regional planning efforts in the past have been difficult endeavors for many reasons; however, there is a shared goal among staff from all of Lexington’s regional neighbors to advance the basic principles of urban planning.

Theme E - Stewardship Policy 8 - Sustainability for Present & Future

Address economic, environmental, and social sustainability of new development to thoughtfully utilize Lexington’s resources for present needs while considering those of future generations.

The focus of sustainable development is to raise the standard of living for current residents without precluding the same opportunity to future generations. There are three facets to sustainability through which all proposed development should be reviewed: Economic, Social, and Environmental.