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Lexington boundary expansion reined in ahead of planning commission vote

Lexington Planning

Lexington’s proposed urban service boundary expansion has been scaled back to something more modest than what some had envisioned.

The committee charged with creating a proposed map of areas for inclusion inside the urban service boundary moved toward a more smaller amount of acreage, close to 3,000, this week, excluding historic horse farms and others uninterested in being looped into the boundary from consideration.

"I think we did what we were charged to do. We stuck fairly close to the minimum acreage, which given all the public input that we've taken in, concurs with a lot of things we've heard in person, over email, over the phone, people that have talked to us," Committee member Dan Wu said, assessing the work of the advisory committee.

Wu added, however, that he remains unconvinced that the recent process served as a satisfactory model of how to move forward.

"My hope... is that we don't do this again, that we don't do the thing we just did in the last eight weeks, that we go by a different and much better process for incremental development and expansion as needed based on data," he explained.

The original expansion vote allowed for up to 5,000 acres of new land inside the urban service boundary, with a specific goal of creating more affordable housing.

The final proposed map includes four areas, according to WKYT: One bordered by Winchester Road and 64, a second at the intersection of Royster Road and North Cleveland Road, a third along I-75 between Todds Road and Athens Boonesboro, and a fourth between Man ‘O War and Wellesley Heights.

The map appears poised for approval by the city’s planning commission.

A day after the committee decision, Lexington saw a ribbon-cutting on a new affordable housing complex.

Developer Dylan Palmer said the property on Maywick Lane began the year as a neglected eyesore.

"We first laid eyes on this property in February of this year," he said. "It was a scene of despair and it stood condemned without a single family calling it home. We didn't shy away from challenge. We embraced it wholeheartedly."

Now the overhauled building houses 16 apartments, which are only open to those who are at or below 80% of area median income.

Mayor Linda Gorton called the new affordable housing units an example of a successful infill project taking advantage of areas already inside the boundary.