Brokers, builders finding new ways to get around Lexington's Urban Services Boundary

Published: Mar. 18, 2019 at 6:46 PM EDT
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The Urban Services Boundary in Fayette County is causing headaches for brokers and realtors in the area, as buyers are looking for more options to call home.

Lynn Ransdell is a realtor in Lexington, but now, she's doing a lot of house flipping. Flipping a house can mean anything from knocking a house down and starting over to just fixing the floors and giving the home a more updated paint job.

"We took the roof off because we couldn't go back, and we couldn't go left or right, so we went up," Ransdell said as she pointed to a house on Preston Avenue she's currently flipping. "I think people are resistant to the updates when they live in a house, but then when they become buyers, they expect something new."

"You go around to a lot of neighborhoods in Lexington and they are a time capsule to the 1960s or 1970s," Lexington real estate broker Trey McCallie said.

McCallie said since the Urban Services Boundary creates a stopping point around Lexington to build, the price of land in the city is expensive.

"It's making the dirt more expensive, so the same people that want the Urban Services Boundary control also want affordable housing," McCallie said. "We'll never have affordable housing because you're not going to build a $115,000 house on a $75,000 lot."

Another option gaining popularity are luxury apartments. The rent is many times more money than a mortgage. But McCallie said, for some reason, a lot of people like them.

"It's interesting that there's a certain segment of our population now that doesn't want to own-- from empty nesters all the way down to millennials," he said.

Fayette County's Director of Planning Jim Duncan disagreed. He said right now there are several thousand acres undeveloped inside the Urban Services Boundary. Tthose properties will be developed in the coming years. Duncan said that's where our major roads come into play. Many of these areas could be intensified with apartments, which would contribute to affordability.

WKYT has covered several homeowners association meetings lately where some are upset over the luxury apartments because too many live in a small area.

McCallie said Jessamine County and Scott County are now the two fastest-growing counties in the state because of the spillover of Lexington residents. However, the city wants residents to know it isn't out of space, and planners believe the mixed-use style of living is one that will take Lexington into the future.

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