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Stone Fence Inventory

Update Lexington’s stone fence inventory, and pursue additional protections for this iconic and historic cultural asset.

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. Despite the role stone fences play in defining the sense of place within the Inner Bluegrass Region, they are in critical danger of being lost to development and neglect.

Stone fences are made of Kentucky Limestone collected from fields, streams, or quarries and demonstrate sustainable farming practices from the 1800s. The 1990 Stone Fences of Fayette County study estimated that 90% of the stone fences in the region are gone. The development of adjacent properties has been the primary reason for their demise since 1950.

The 1994 Stone Fence Ordinance protects those stone fences located in the public right-of-way from demolition. However, as the 2017 Rural Land Management Plan finds, “the fate of stone fences remains in peril.”

An inventory was conducted for the 1990 study, and found 247 stone fences with a total length of 38.7 miles. This was a 25% loss from the 49.6 miles identified in a 1967 study. The 1990 inventory was catalogued using a measuring wheel and plotting the stone fences on a 1981 Tree Stand Atlas map sheet.

The stone fence inventory should be updated to catalogue their condition and reflect their current status. Advancements in technology should be utilized to digitally map the stone fences through Geographic Information System (GIS). Other issues concerning stone fences identified by the 2017 Rural Land Management Plan should be considered when updating current policies and regulations protecting limestone fences.

Action Item(s)

  • Update the 1990 Stone Fence Inventory.

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

Objective: D3a

Protect historic resources and archaeological sites.

Objective: D3c

Develop incentives to retain, restore, preserve and continue use of historic site and structures, rural settlements and urban and rural neighborhoods.

GOAL D4: Promote, support, encourage and provide incentives for public art.

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.