The boundary is a big deal. But what about the rest of Lexington's Comprehensive Plan?
Debate over a hotly-contested urban service boundary expansion has dominated discussions about Lexington’s updated Comprehensive Plan, set for final adoption Thursday night. But the plan will affect a wide range of projects and initiatives far beyond the boundary in the coming years.
If you listened to news coverage of the upcoming comprehensive plan vote, you could be forgiven for thinking it’s all about expanding Lexington’s development boundary. But that’s only a piece of the state-mandated policy guide.
Updates to the long-range roadmap are made every five years, and ahead of this one, the planning commission launched a city-wide public engagement process – with CivicLex leading the largest scale public input initiative, dubbed On the Table.
"It also includes transportation, housing policy, environmental policy, neighborhood design," Kit Anderson with Civic Lex notes.
Some of the proposed changes that grew out of recommendations include more language regarding racial equity, ambitious sustainability targets to address climate change, and more intentional focus on affordable housing for low-income and marginalized communities.
Council member Liz Sheehan reminded the public about the full range of the comprehensive plan at Tuesday’s council work session.
"There is very important work here outside of just our land use, although of course that is important to our community," Sheehan noted. "So I encourage everyone to get involved in the rest of the Comprehensive Plan discussions as the policy recommendations come forward for the rest of this plan."
She’s referring to the work that remains to be done once the council adopts the plan — which will first require lots of labor by city planners, who have to take the language and turn it into tangible policy recommendations. It’s a task some boundary expansion critics worry will be disrupted by the intense, singular focus on the boundary.
"As a result of that, our planning department will be putting all of their resources and time into planning for an expansion area," says Brittany Roethemeier with Fayette Alliance. "That means they will not be able to put their resources and time into fulfilling the rest of the Comprehensive Plan... They've said, on the record, that they're short staffed and this is a really big job."
Final adoption of the full Comprehensive Plan is on the agenda for Thursday night's regular council meeting.