What is the Placebuilder?

The Placebuilder is a compilation of the urban planning best practices found in the policies throughout Imagine Lexington. It sorts these best practices into development criteria that are applicable to proposed developments seeking a zone change. In addressing the development criteria, applicants demonstrate that they are in agreement with the Comprehensive Plan, and that their individual developments work toward implementing the broader Goals and Objectives developed by the community.

A fundamental piece of The Placebuilder is the menu of different place-types that assist the developer in determining the appropriate ingredients for their site, such as zoning, site priorities, and desired density, based on the surrounding context. These place-types give way to an offering of development types, which are density-based options intended to enhance compatibility and support neighboring conditions. The selection of desired place-type and development type will guide the user to the appropriate criteria for his or her site, which are actionable items derived from the policies within the plan. In this way, the structure of The Placebuilder tool allows it to function as a distillation of the larger Goals & Objectives of Imagine Lexington.

In addition to providing guidance for applicants seeking a zone change, The Placebuilder puts a strong emphasis on promoting healthy discussion between developers and neighborhoods. It achieves this by providing a common language and common objectives to create an avenue for productive, transparent conversations among all stakeholders.

The Placebuilder Process

Step 1: Engagement
Step 2: Place-Type
Step 3: Development Type
Step 4: Zone
Step 5: Application
Step 6: Review & Public Input

The Development Types

Residential

Low Density Residential
Primary Land Use, Building Form & Design
Primarily attached and detached single-family homes of varying formats, including accessory dwelling units.

Homogeneous neighborhoods that do not include a mix of housing types should be avoided. Low density residential is only appropriate as a component of “Enhanced Neighborhoods” and “New Complete Neighborhoods”, and should be supplemented by a variety of uses and housing options to create sustainable places.
Transit Infrastructure & Connectivity
Multi-modal network connections, including connected streets, are required to keep an efficient transportation network that provides viable options for all users.
Quality of Life Considerations
These developments should include intentional open space designed to fit the needs of area residents, and be in walking distance of nearby neighborhood-serving commercial/employment uses.
Medium Density Residential
Primary Land Use, Building Form & Design
Primarily attached and multi-family units.

Multi-family units should complement and enhance existing development through quality design and connections.
Transit Infrastructure & Connectivity
Nearby commercial/employment uses and greenspaces should be easily accessible, and bicycle and pedestrian modes should be maximized to connect residents to destinations.
Quality of Life Considerations
These developments should include intentional open space designed to fit the needs of area residents, and a variety of neighborhood-serving commercial/ employment uses.
Medium-High Density Residential
Primary Land Use, Building Form & Design
Primarily multi-family units.

Multi-family units should complement and enhance existing development through quality design and connections.
Transit Infrastructure & Connectivity
Access to these developments is typically through streets designated with the collector classification or above. Mass transit infrastructure should be provided along transit routes through collaboration with Lextran, and bicycle and pedestrian facilities should be plentiful to provide multi-modal options.
Quality of Life Considerations
These developments should include intentional open space designed to fit the needs of area residents, and a variety of neighborhood-serving commercial/ employment uses.
High Density Residential
Primary Land Use, Building Form & Design
Primarily high-rise multi-family units.

This type of development is generally reserved for the most intensely developed areas in Lexington, with the infrastructure to support it. Where these developments abut existing or historic neighborhoods, appropriate step-downs or context- sensitive elements should be used to minimize intrusion.
Transit Infrastructure & Connectivity
Mass transit infrastructure should be provided along transit routes through collaboration with Lextran, and bicycle and pedestrian facilities should be plentiful to provide multi-modal options. Parking should be minimized in favor of multi-modal options, and where necessary, should be predominantly accommodated within garages.
Quality of Life Considerations
Open space and greenspace opportunities should be adequate within the area to support the residents, or should be provided creatively on-site utilizing plazas, rooftop space, or other means that accomplish the goal, but still allow for high Floor Area Ratios.

Non-Residential/Mixed-use

Low Density Non-Residential / Mixed-Use
Primary Land Use, Building Form & Design
Primarily neighborhood-serving commercial uses, services, places of employment, and/or a mix of uses within low to mid-rise structures appropriately scaled to the surrounding neighborhood.

Mixed-use structures can include a mix of residential, commercial, services, and/or employment uses, and an activated and pedestrian-scale ground level should be provided. Developments with a residential component are generally non-residential on the ground-floor with units above, providing opportunities for live/work arrangements. The retail/service options typically include boutique-type establishments, neighborhood restaurants or pubs, and/ or neighborhood-serving services like dentists, daycares, etc., and the places of employment are small offices.
Transit Infrastructure & Connectivity
Bicycle and pedestrian connections to adjoining neighborhoods, and buildings oriented to the street are required to ensure the non-residential enhances nearby neighborhoods by creating a truly walkable environment.
Parking
Parking should be minimized and where necessary, located internally.
Medium Density Non-Residential / Mixed-Use
Primary Land Use, Building Form & Design
Primarily community-serving commercial uses, services, places of employment, and/or a mix of uses within mid-rise structures with a higher Floor Area Ratio.

Mixed-use structures typically include more multi-family residential units and places of employment, and retail and commercial options generally draw from a larger geographic area. An activated and pedestrian-scale ground level should be provided. These developments may include more employment space for professional office and can include some larger entertainment spaces.
Transit Infrastructure & Connectivity
Though they draw more external users, they should still include multi-modal connections allowing for easy neighborhood access. Mass transit infrastructure is to be provided on par with that of other modes, and the higher-density housing types should be located in close proximity.
Parking
The buildings should be oriented to the street, and developments should avoid over-parking, with provided parking located internally.
High Density Non-Residential / Mixed-Use
Primary Land Use, Building Form & Design
Primarily regional-serving commercial uses, services, places of employment, and/or a mix of uses within high-rise structures with a high Floor Area Ratio.

Mixed-use structures typically include an abundance of multi-family residential units, places of employment, and entertainment options, and the retail and commercial options generally draw from a regional geographic area. Screening and buffers should be provided to adjoining lower-density residential developments, however those adjoining neighborhoods should retain convenient access to the development.
Transit Infrastructure & Connectivity
These developments are generally located along higher intensity roadways. Mass transit infrastructure, on par with that of other modes, should be provided, and bicycle and pedestrian connections to adjoining developments are required. Internal multi-modal connectivity throughout the development is critical.
Parking
Parking is generally provided in structures with activated ground levels.
Industrial and Production Non-Residential / Mixed-Use
Primary Land Use, Building Form & Design
Primarily employment land dedicated to the most intense types of employment-centric development. This is the only category where uses are inherently incompatible and are best separated from adjacent uses.

These uses are best suited in areas where they already exist, collocating to utilize industrial-scale infrastructure to serve the needs of the users. Environmental protection measures should be taken to minimize impacts.
Transit Infrastructure & Connectivity
These uses are also heavy employers and should incorporate mass transit infrastructure, on par with that of other modes, to connect residents to their jobs.
Parking