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Affordable Housing Plan Clears First Hurdle

Urban County Council members gave their initial approval to a plan that would supply $2M in annual funds for affordable housing programs.

According to a study by consultants CZB, the number of affordable housing units in Lexington is shrinking by close to 400 every year.

Tuesday, the council heard from stakeholders, who have crafted a plan that would have the city use general fund dollars to provide developers with 5 to 8 percent of the cost to build and renovate affordable dwellings. Planning Commissioner Derek Paulsen said the city could reasonably expect the creation of 75 new units annually under the plan.  

Councilman Steve Kay called the vote a “very important moment.”

"The council has the opportunity now to move forward on an issue we've been deliberating for many, many years, and to state clearly that this is a community that cares for all of our residents," he said.

But the price tag has some on the council reticent to immediately sign on. Councilman Ed Lane worried aloud about the scope of the project.

"I think helping people is a good thing, so I'm not opposed to that. But I am concerned about building up a bureaucracy to do affordable housing that will go on and on, [and] it will escalate in cost," Lane said.

The council endorsed the plan and is expected to take up the details – including the funding source – next month. This comes on top of $3.5M already earmarked in the current budget for homelessness and affordable housing projects.

Josh James fell in love with college radio at Western Kentucky University's student station, New Rock 92 (now Revolution 91.7). After working as a DJ and program director, he knew he wanted to come home to Lexington and try his hand in public radio.
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