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. However, it also allows that, in the absence of such a finding, the Planning Commission can approve an application if there have been, “major changes of an economic, physical, or social nature within the area involved which were not anticipated in the adopted comprehensive plan and which have substantially altered the basic character of such an area.” Due to the adaptive and flexible nature of Imagine Lexington, this should be a very difficult argument to make successfully. Imagine Lexington not only anticipates land use changes throughout much of the urban service area, it calls for and recommends them.
Applicants justifying a zone map amendment with language regarding unanticipated changes must do so with evidence outside of land use changes approved by the Planning Commission, which should speak to much larger economic, physical or social shifts from forces greater than local planning decisions.
Land use changes are expected to occur throughout Lexington as infill and redevelopment continues as the primary strategy. These changes will occur and be approved primarily based upon their ability to demonstrate compliance with the Goals and Objectives and associated policies, as well as the zone change criteria of Imagine Lexington.