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Rural Activity Centers

Fully realize the development potential within Lexington’s Rural Activity Centers while avoiding negative impacts to surrounding agriculture, Rural Settlements, and viewsheds.

The 2017 Rural Land Management Plan has a stated policy emphasis for the Rural Activity Centers (RACs) to “maximize their potential for jobs while maintaining their boundaries and minimizing impacts to the rural area.” The Rural Service Area (RSA) includes 1,562 acres dedicated to the four RACs: Blue Sky Industrial Park, Avon (Blue Grass Station), Spindletop Research Park, and the Blue Grass Airport.

Blue Sky is underutilized, with much of its area occupied by surface car lots; it can accommodate industrial uses, and is the only RAC not in public ownership. Its recommended uses are primarily for warehousing, light industrial, and interstate commercial development. There are significant opportunities to more fully realize the potential of this site, and a small area plan should be undertaken for more specific recommendations. At 271 acres, Avon is under control of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, with the exception of 79 acres that are privately held. This RAC includes several tenants, such as Lockheed Martin, which contracts for the U.S. Department of Defense.

Spindletop’s Research Campus is an office park owned by the Commonwealth of Kentucky, which includes tenants such as the Council of State Governments and the Asphalt Institute. This Rural Activity Center is zoned for professional office uses. There are opportunities there for additional professional office developments which would be well suited for corporate headquarters, as the land is already zoned for professional office. Economic development opportunities should be pursued though amendments to the City’s agreement with the Commonwealth of Kentucky regarding sanitary sewer provision would be required.

The Blue Grass Airport is largest of the RACs, at 707 acres. This RAC includes warehousing and office uses to support the airport facilities, as well as a shooting range for Lexington Police. The Airport Board also acquired another 314 acres and constructed an additional runway outside the RAC; however, the boundary was not expanded, in order to avoid complications that could arise through future property sales.

While the RACs make up a relatively small percentage of the RSA, they still provide for growth and development, primarily in Lexington’s job-creating industries. Opportunities for industrial and professional office growth are present, and, as land constraints continue to tighten, the city should look creatively to these areas for employment solutions. These should be pursued, but with constant consideration given to the integrity of the rural service area.

Action Item(s)

  • Conduct a Blue Sky Small Area Plan.

Goals and Objectives

GOAL B3: Apply environmentally sustainable practices to protect, conserve and restore landscapes and natural resources.

Objective: B3b

Identify and protect natural resources and landscapes before development occurs.

GOAL C1: Support and showcase local assets to further the creation of a variety of jobs.

Objective: C1a

Strengthen efforts to develop a variety of job opportunities that lead to prosperity for all.

Objective: C1b

Strengthen regulations and policies that propel the agricultural economy, including, but not limited to, local food production and distribution, agritourism and the equine industry that showcase Lexington-Fayette County as the Horse Capital of the World.

GOAL C2: Attract the world’s finest jobs, encourage an entrepreneurial spirit, and enhance our ability to recruit and retain a talented, creative workforce by establishing opportunities that embrace diversity with inclusion in our community.

Objective: C2a

Prioritize the success and growth of strategically-targeted employment sectors (healthcare, education, high-tech, advanced manufacturing, agribusiness, agritourism, and the like), and enable infill and redevelopment that creates jobs where people live.

Objective: C2c

Review and improve regulations and policies that attract and retain high paying jobs through close collaboration with agencies that focus on economic development.

GOAL C3: Identify, provide and sustain readily available publicly-controlled economic development land to meet Fayette County’s need for jobs, amending the Comprehensive Plan as necessary to ensure it remains an up-to-date and workable framework for economic development.

There are no objectives related to this policy that further this particular goal.

GOAL D3: Protect and enhance the natural and cultural landscapes that give Lexington-Fayette County its unique identity and image.

There are no objectives related to this policy that further this particular goal.

GOAL E2: Support the agricultural economy, horse farms, general agricultural farms and the rural character of the Rural Service Area.

Objective: E2a

Protect and enhance the natural, cultural, historic and environmental resources of Lexington-Fayette County's Rural Service Area and Bluegrass farmland to help promote the general agricultural brand and ensure Lexington-Fayette County remains the Horse Capital of the World.

Objective: E2b

Support the Purchase of Development Rights and private sector farmland conservation programs to protect, preserve and enhance our signature agricultural industries, historic structures, cultural landscapes, natural environments and community welfare.

GOAL E3: Maintain the current boundaries of the Urban Service Area and Rural Activity Centers; and create no new Rural Activity Centers. To ensure Lexington is responsive to its future land use needs, this Goal shall be superseded and no longer in effect upon completion of Theme E, Goal 4, Objective D.

There are no objectives related to this policy that further this particular goal.