Follow and implement the recommendations of the 2007 Study of Fayette County’s Small Rural Communities and the 2017 Rural Land Management Plan to protect and preserve Lexington’s rural settlements.
Lexington has 19 rural settlements that are essential to the history and fabric of the rural landscape. Three of the historic settlements, Bracktown, Cadentown, and Jonestown, have been absorbed into the Urban Service Area, while 16 reside in the Rural Service Area, totaling 505 acres.
The majority of the rural settlements were settled by free African-Americans after the Civil War. Many descendants of those who first settled these communities still remain on the same land today and operate small farms and businesses. The rural settlements also comprise a significant portion of the African-American homeownership in Fayette County.
A three-year study of Fayette County’s rural settlements, begun in 2002, documented their character and history and gave policy recommendations to protect each of their unique identities, all of which were included in the 2007 Comprehensive Plan. While some actions have been taken as a result of these policy recommendations, many of these small rural settlements remain threatened. Threats include potential urban expansion, population decline, possible gentrification if redeveloped, and loss of unique identity. To protect and preserve Lexington’s rural settlements:
- The current lotting patterns should be maintained, unless the action taken would restore the parcel’s historic condition;
- New housing opportunities on vacant lots should be promoted to ensure the longevity of the rural settlements;
- An ND-1 or H-1 overlay, tailored to the needs of these individual communities, should be considered;
- Infrastructure measures that both improve the quality of life for residents of the rural settlements and are compatible with the Rural Service Area should be explored, including transportation and public transit, tourism, and internet/Wi-Fi connection;
- Consider adjusting the PDR program’s evaluative point system so applications which include farmland adjacent to rural settlements are awarded additional points;
- Identify local land use advocacy groups to partner as stakeholders in the development of policy and education/outreach efforts within rural settlements;
- The policy recommendations for rural settlements from the 2007 Study of Fayette County’s Small Rural Communities and the 2017 Rural Land Management Plan should be implemented.