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. On the other hand, preservation efforts of the last few decades have increased the desire to mitigate issues of context between old and new. Lexington’s local economy has undergone a similar transformation over the last few decades. While the tobacco industry has waned, the city’s service and healthcare industries have grown significantly. The more urban land uses of the new economy are increasingly complementary to existing residential land use patterns. Greater consideration to site design can make those transitions even more complementary and of greater benefit to neighborhoods.
Redevelopment of older industrial sites near historic areas creates an opportunity to enhance those spaces. Historic preservation efforts have succeeded in making some areas attractive for new growth around them, a testament to their success. However, creating a market for new projects is not without its own issues to monitor. Imagine Lexington absolutely supports preservation of existing historic districts, while encouraging new infill and redevelopment projects in areas around them.
Development criteria within Imagine Lexington will seek to address some of these contextual issues in order to better provide guidance to historic property owners and developers about what to expect along the boundaries of historic zones. The primary goal will be to enhance the historic areas by creating new dynamic places where people will want to live, work and visit, while not attempting to mimic or recreate the past. In the urban core, increases in land use intensity are to be expected, while still enhancing the aesthetic of directly adjacent historic areas.