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Lexington mayoral challenger touts affordable housing plan

Lexington councilman and mayoral candidate David Kloiber addresses a candidate forum at the Lyric Theatre
Josh James
Lexington councilman and mayoral candidate David Kloiber addresses a candidate forum at the Lyric Theatre

Lexington mayoral candidate David Kloiber is proposing a three-point plan to create more affordable neighborhoods in Lexington.

Kloiber argues, if left unchecked, rising rent and housing costs will push more Lexington workers outside the community, and lead to increased crime and homelessness. The councilman stressed the point at a community forum Wednesday.

"We need to make sure that we're incentivizing neighborhoods to stay together and for developments to come into those neighborhoods to make them more complete, but this means that we need to have more equitable land use policies," Kloiber said. "We can't be sitting here in a situation where we draw a circle around the city that squeezes most of the people who work here out of it. Over 50% of the people who work in the city can't afford to live there."

His plan, dubbed ALI – the Affordable Lexington Initiative – proposes a new Support Zoning classification, meant to attract businesses and amenities to neighborhoods that are lacking in the basics. The candidate also wants to create a permanent pipeline of dollars to the city’s affordable housing fund and put it on the ballot as a referendum, mirroring the 2004 vote that created a pool of money for Lextran through a tax increase.

It’s an issue that’s hardly gone unnoticed by the current administration. Mayor Linda Gorton has increased Lexington’s funding for affordable housing, and since 2014 the city has leveraged dollars to help create more than 3,000 new units.

She’s also highlighted a food truck program intended to deliver fresh food to neighborhoods without easy access to groceries.

"We're not talking about moving people out to other neighborhoods to get food, right? We're talking about taking the food to them," Gorton said.

Yet Kloiber has expressed skepticism that the mayor’s plans are enough and that the current programs have the backing to remain sustainable.

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.