Lexington council approves controversial expansion to urban service boundary

Lexington council approves controversial expansion to urban service boundary
Published: Jun. 2, 2023 at 10:23 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - The planning commission has been tasked by the city. They now have until December 1st, 2024 to develop a plan. One that would detail how the additional 5,000 acres of land added to the urban service boundary can be developed.

“The recommended goal that came from the planning commission for council to consider was to continue with the urban service boundary as it is now. But to adopt a process to look at how future expansions will be addressed,” said Director of Planning Jim Duncan.

Instead, council voted to expand the urban boundary and adopt a master plan. One Director of Planning, Jim Duncan will now oversee.

“Certainly our office is an advocate of a process to ensure we’re doing this in a purposeful manner. That we know what our outcomes are going to be, what our costs are going to be. And that we can help ensure that we’re getting the housing we need and the jobs that we need.”

But proponents of the expansion believe expanding the boundary would do just that. Carla Blanton, with the group Lexington for Everyone and other pro-development groups have pushed for areas along the I-75 corridor to be added to the boundary.

“We want to see a naturally developing growth. And just the jobs to keep people here and to attract people,” Blanton said.

This would be the first expansion in nearly 27 years. Blanton says it would bring housing costs down in the city. But it’s up to the planning commission to find the acres they think should be added.

“To get the historic vote, it’s been a generation since we’ve brought more land in. We feel like this is a great first step for everyone.”

The vote on the boundary is part of the council’s proposed changes to the 2045 Comprehensive Plan. The plan is used to determine what development can go where.