Proposed historic district drawing controversy

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - A Lexington neighborhood could soon be zoned a historic district.

But not everyone is happy with the proposed historic overlay that would effect almost two hundred properties in the Ashland Park Neighborhood from Desha Road and South Hanover Avenue on the east and west, and Richmond Road and Fontaine Road on the north and south.

The issue will take center stage Tuesday night in council chambers. Supporters say the H-1 overlay would preserve and protect properties that date back to the late 19th & early 20th centuries.

"We really want to ensure these properties are persevered and prevent invasion of commercial property," said Tony Chamblin, former neighborhood president.

Chamblin uses a large Victorian home demolished in the 1950's to make room for a fuel station at Ashland & Main Street as an example of what the historic district designation would prevent.

"This is an area of town that has a lot of history, including the Henry Clay Estate, and that is something we as a community should want to protect," he said.

He also said property values would increase overtime. In a neighboring historic district along South Ashland Avenue where Chamblin owns a home, he says, between 1996 and 2012 property values increased more than 20 percent compared to other streets in the same neighborhood.

Those who oppose the zoning change, say they're not against preserving their properties or the neighborhood, but believe the current proposal still needs work.

Desha Road homeowner, Jim Tucker, says concerns landlords want to turn one the neighborhood into a rental district for college students just isn't realistic.

"That's not gonna happen here," Tucker said. He's requesting more time from the city to come up with a plan neighbor's for and against the proposed zoning change, can at least come to terms with.

"If you're gonna do it, do it right, that's all I'm asking here," he explained.

Other opponents say the restrictions that come along with historic zoning can make it difficult for some to maintain their properties because any changes to a house have to be approved by the Board of Architectural Review.

The public hearing is at 6pm Tuesday night in council chambers in the Fayette Urban County Government building downtown.

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