Final Vote Near for Comprehensive Plan Update

The final vote (second reading) on the 2018 Comprehensive Plan’s Goals & Objectives is scheduled  for the November 16, 2017 Council Meeting.  Regarding what many consider the key provision, Council initially voted 8-7 to include an amendment that, in my judgement, would have effectively allowed expansion of the Urban Services Boundary.  That amendment is available here.  At the November 7, 2017 Work Session, Council voted 8-7 to remove that amendment.   You can see that vote below.  Council then voted to place approval of the Goals and Objectives, as amended, on the Council docket.

The current draft includes red-line markups, which represent all changes the Council made to the recommendationA red-line version of the Planning Commission’s recommendation is on pages 1-6 of the September 26, 2017 packet for Council.  For more background on the overall process please see my earlier blog post.  More details are contained in the record of Planning Commission meetings here, and you can see the relevant Council materials here and associated videos below:

Two aspects in the 2018 Plan warrant particular note: the focus on equity and the call for a more consistent process for growth decision-making.  Equity in this context refers to developing fairly.  It means our community grows in a way that guards against the displacement and disenfranchisement of low-income residents.  Equitable development’s priority is reflected in its placement in the mission statement of the 2018 Comprehensive Plan.  Theme A, Goal 4, Objective B reinforces equity by calling for a “[p]lan for equitable and accessible social services and healthcare facilities…”  Theme C, Goal 1, Objective E encourages “…developers of government-funded or subsidized projects to employ residents in the vicinity…”  These revisions help incorporate equity into Imagine Lexington and our future, and I am pleased to see our community moving in this more thoughtful direction.

Goal 4 in Theme E is new to the Comprehensive Plan.  It calls for the creation of a more objective process for decision-making regarding land use, the Urban Services Boundary, and the Rural Activity Centers.  Creating this framework should be a constructive endeavor.  Preservation of the rural area and continuing economic development are key dimensions in charting Lexington’s future, and they have at times been in tension.  Establishing a more objective process to identify criteria for where and when new land for development is needed can provide both better protection for our rural areas and greater predictability for developers regarding land availability.  I am hopeful this new approach will reduce the guesswork in preservation as well as development and build strong roots for our strategic decision-making moving forward.

My thanks to all who helped develop the Goals & Objectives for this Plan.  Contributors include over 11,000 Lexingtonians who gave feedback in On the Table, Planning staff, the Planning Commission, my fellow Councilmembers, and the many residents of our community who contributed their thoughts through messages and directly at Council meetings.

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