Policies Related to Quality of Life
Theme A - Density Policy 2 - Infill Residential & Context Sensitivity
Theme A - Density Policy 3 - Supportive Neighborhood Uses
Ideal neighborhoods include not only a mix of housing types, but also a mix of uses, including neighborhood-serving businesses and opportunities for work and leisure. Incorporating more of these uses into existing neighborhoods as well as new developments should be encouraged.
Theme A - Design Policy 10 - Neighborhood Focal Points
Theme A - Design Policy 11 - Utilize Single Loaded Streets
Theme A - Design Policy 12 - Neighborhood Commercial
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
Theme A - Design Policy 4 - Context Sensitive Development
Context-sensitive development is compatible and complementary to adjacent neighborhoods and communities. It enhances the existing neighborhoods through land uses and development patterns that are sensitive to the nearby built and natural environments.
Theme A - Design Policy 5 - Pedestrian Friendly
Street design matters. Creating a neighborhood environment that is not only able to be walked, but is actually inviting and walkable is vital to providing a safe way for people to move from place to place.
Theme A - Design Policy 6 - Lexington Area MPO Bike/Ped Master Plan
The 2018 Bike/Pedestrian Plan, called ConnectLex, envisions “a network of high quality walkways and bikeways that connects communities and fosters economic growth and regional collaboration. People of all ages and abilities will have access to comfortable and convenient walking and biking routes, resulting in true mobility choice, improved economic opportunity, and healthier lifestyles.
Theme A - Design Policy 7 - Parking Design Aesthetics
New residential development should minimize the visual appearance of parking lots on streets to preserve that space for use that will activate the front yards and sidewalks for pedestrians and bicyclists. This can be achieved by placing parking lots to the rear or interior of the site, so that the building fronts along a public street.
Theme A - Design Policy 9 - Provide Adequate Greenspace
Greenspace is key to successful neighborhoods. It has the benefits of improving air quality, providing social interactions, and improving public health.
Theme A - Equity Policy 1 - Housing for 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
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
Theme A - Equity Policy 4 - Land Bank, Community Land Trust, Vacant Land Commission
Theme A - Equity Policy 5 - Improve 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
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 7 - Integrated Community Facilities
School sites should be appropriately sized for the needs of the community and designed to be an integral part of the community, rather than sequestered and closed off.
Theme A - Equity Policy 8 - Universal Design Principles
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 - Protection Policy 10 - Iconic Rural Fencelines
As Horse Capital of the World, horse farm style plank fences have become part of the cultural landscape of the Lexington Bluegrass region. Large portions of the major greenways are owned and maintained by LFUCG, and efforts should be expanded to incorporate horse farm style plank fences.
Theme B - Protection Policy 4 - Conserve Active Agriculture
In 2012, Fayette County had 718 farm operations on 114,857 acres, which represented 63.3% of the total land within the county. In comparison, Kentucky’s farm operations made up 51.6% of the state’s total land area, and U.S. farm operations made up 40.5% of total land area in the country.
Theme B - Protection Policy 5 - Connect Farms to Community
Bluegrass Farm-to-Table was founded in 2015 with a mission to promote the development of a more vibrant local food economy by supporting food-related agricultural development. It has 21 partners including the government, universities, schools, farms, private entities throughout the community.
Theme B - Protection Policy 6 - Rural Service Area Agritourism
The 2017 Rural Land Management Plan has a thorough summary of the recent tourism developments in the rural service area. Year after year, visitors surveyed by VisitLEX say that they come to the Bluegrass for the horses, landscape and bourbon. The two major attractions, which draw more than a million visitors a year to the Rural Service Area, are the Kentucky Horse Park and Keeneland.
Theme B - Protection Policy 8 - Greenspace Plan
Availability and accessibility of greenspace is essential for human growth and development. As suggested in the 1994 Greenspace Plan, the benefits of creating a comprehensive greenspace system go far beyond leisure and aesthetics, and are fundamental to the future economy and quality of the environment of this community and the entire Bluegrass Region.
Theme B - Restoration Policy 1 - Urban Forestry Management Plan
The urban forest plays an important role in supporting and improving the quality of life in urban areas. A tree’s shade and beauty contributes to the community’s health and softens the often hard appearance of urban landscapes and streetscapes.
Theme B - Restoration Policy 2 - Greenspace Infrastructure & Network
Green infrastructure provides numerous environmental benefits, such as stormwater management, with limited disruption to natural land. It can serve as an urban oasis in the regional ecological system and create linkages within the greenspace network.
Theme B - Restoration Policy 3 - Community Gardens & Urban Agriculture
Lexington allows community gardens on public property such as parks and greenways, in areas where appropriate. Seedleaf was founded in 2007 with a mission to nourish communities by growing and sharing food in Lexington. The nonprofit grew three gardens in 2008, 10 gardens in 2009, and has grown steadily since then.
Theme B - Sustainability Policy 13 - Sustainability Programs & Implementation
Lexington’s neighboring cities have excellent examples for sustainability partnerships.
Theme B - Sustainability Policy 4 - Accessible Greenspace
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
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 - Livability Policy 3 - Regional Athletic Field Complex
According to the 2018 Parks and Recreation Master Plan:
“The Bluegrass Sports Commission previously approached the city about a partnership for the development of a sports complex to promote economic development.
Theme C - Livability Policy 5 - Enhance Programs & Activities
Many of the festivals, parades, and events that Parks and Recreation hold are in the same location each year. Events, festivals, parades, and the like are important in celebrating holidays, cultures, and community celebrations. These activities add to the livability of the city, attract tourists, and provide entertainment options that appeal to millennials, as well as people of all ages.
Theme C - Livability Policy 6 - Attract & Retain Young Professionals
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
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 C - Livability Policy 8 - Promote Quality of Life
The design of a city, its public spaces, and public infrastructure have important correlations with quality of life, social development, and other key components of human wellbeing. Likewise, appealing cities are more likely to attract a creative, innovative, and skilled workforce, and the investments that are needed to drive the urban economy.
Theme C - Livability Policy 9 - Strategically Preserve Production Land
The creation of adaptive reuse regulations was an acknowledgment that many of Lexington’s older industrial zoned sites were no longer suited for modern economic development purposes. As those properties became vacant and dilapidated, it presented opportunities to support the urban core with businesses and residential options better suited for their urban environment.
Theme C - Prosperity Policy 4 - Fiber-Optic Broadband Infrastructure
Nearly every aspect of modern society is becoming increasingly web-dependent and, like the Interstate highway system connects communities, digital broadband infrastructure is essential for any 21st century community to thrive in areas of commerce, health, education, entertainment, and government.
Theme D - Connectivity Policy 2 - Multimodal Streets for All Needs
A safe, fully-connected multimodal transportation system is not about moving vehicles, but about moving people and supporting the community by improving the quality of life for everyone. Achieving this goal requires all modes of transportation be considered equally during the design of rights-of-way.
Theme D - Connectivity Policy 3 - Multimodal Access Equitability
Mobility, social interaction, and physical activity enhance the quality of life of children, the aging population, persons with disabilities and the economically disadvantaged. The removal of barriers to independent travel reduces the need for more costly alternatives such as paratransit, private transportation services, and ‘hazard’ busing for school students.
Theme D - Connectivity Policy 6 - Holistically Design Streets
The benefits of context-sensitive multimodal street design are many, but all encompass the responsibilities that designers ensure the health, safety and welfare of the people who will use this public space.
Theme D - Placemaking Policy 1 - Town Branch Commons Strategic Master Plan
Town Branch Commons will be a strip of Bluegrass running through downtown Lexington, roughly following the path of Town Branch, Lexington’s first water source. It will link the city's two major trails, Town Branch Trail and the Legacy Trail, to provide 22 miles of uninterrupted trail connecting downtown to the rural landscape.
Theme D - Placemaking Policy 10 - Public Art Easements
The creation of the adaptive reuse ordinance in 2008 was the first time the zoning ordinance considered any provision for public art on private property. Since that time, public art in Lexington has become a substantial part of the urban fabric.
Theme D - Placemaking Policy 11 - 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 13 - 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 14 - Regional Park System
Regional parks can provide multiple community-wide benefits relating to public health, recreation and environmental protection. They serve the city as a whole, in comparison to smaller parks, which meet local needs.
Theme D - Placemaking Policy 15 - Develop a Citywide Festival
Theme D - Placemaking Policy 2 - Retrofit Incomplete Suburbs
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
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 4 - Quality Useable Open Space
Open space is key for livable, sustainable communities. Whether a commercial development or residential neighborhood, how people will interact and move within a space needs to be considered. Successful, usable open space requires both private and public open space areas, designed and incorporated intentionally into the fabric of all development.
Theme D - Placemaking Policy 5 - Review Regulations for Walkability
As was prominently discussed in Theme A, from a standpoint of developing great neighborhoods, there should be a focus on creating pedestrian-friendly streets and walkable blocks that make traversing them on foot a desirable activity.
Theme D - Placemaking Policy 7 - Community Engagement on Development
When developers submit proposed developments, affected communities often hear about them for the first time through required public notice. Though some developers do communicate in advance, it does not always result in a productive conversation.
Theme D - Placemaking Policy 8 - Tactical Placemaking Program
According to Placemaking as an Economic Development tool by Michigan State University in 2015, “Tactical placemaking” is a process of creating quality places that uses a deliberate, often phased approach to physical change or new activation of space that begins with a short-term commitment and realistic expectations that can start quickly (and often at low cost).
Theme D - Placemaking Policy 9 - Enhance Lexington's History
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 1 - Integrate School Sites with Neighborhood
Theme A (Growing Successful Neighborhoods) highlights the large role that design plays in successful neighborhoods, whether it be on a large or a small scale, and Lexington’s schools are no exception.
Theme D - Support Policy 2 - Natural Components in School Sites
With many Fayette County schools due for expansion and/or renovations in the coming year(s) and the additional group of new schools slated for construction, consideration must be given to the significance of site design that extends beyond the building and into the natural landscape that immediately surrounds the property.
Theme D - Support Policy 3 - Wireless Communications Network
In the last several Comprehensive Plans, as well as in the Rural Land Management Plan, the importance of wireless communication has been recognized as integral to the safety and welfare of the community – in both the Urban Service Area and the Rural Service Area.
Theme D - Support Policy 7 - Support High Speed Internet
Quality and dependable high speed internet is vital to top-tier businesses, small entrepreneurs, and private personal device users alike. As of late 2017, the Council voted to approve a 10-year franchise agreement to MetroNet, a company new to the Lexington market, to provide gigabit speed internet service.
Theme D - Support Policy 8 - Quality of Life for Seniors
As increasing numbers of “Baby Boomers” choose to the leave the workforce, the need for meaningful social interaction opportunities for seniors will be increasingly important. The Lexington Senior Center and its three satellite sites (Charles Young Center, Bell House, and Eldercrafters at the Black and Williams Center) serve residents of Fayette County 60 years and older.
Theme E - Accountability Policy 2 - Modernize the Zoning Ordinance
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
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
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 - Accountability Policy 6 - Public Outreach & Neighborhood Leaders
In 2017, as part of a partnership with the Blue Grass Community Foundation, Leadership Lexington, Fayette County Public Schools, and many other organizations, the Division of Planning sought input into this Imagine Lexington plan with On the Table.
Theme E - Growth Policy 1 - Infill & Redevelopment Area Regulations
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
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.
Theme E - Growth Policy 11 - Land Use Changes
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 2 - Downtown Development & Improvements
The implementation of the infill and redevelopment boundary and its corresponding special zoning provisions was a boon to downtown growth, coming at a time when citizens began to take interest, once again, in living in a more urban setting.
Theme E - Growth Policy 5 - Historic Assets & Future Growth
With any future development of Lexington, reverence and critical review of the city’s history is imperative.
Theme E - Growth Policy 6 - New Development & Historic Districts
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 - Stewardship Policy 1 - Stone Fence Inventory
Stone fences are iconic to the historic and cultural landscape of Lexington’s rural heritage. They play a unique role in the region’s identity and contribute to the scenic views, rural corridors and rolling hills.
Theme E - Stewardship Policy 7 - Consult with Adjacent Counties
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
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.