2022 Candidate Q&A – Bill Farmer, Jr.

Bill Farmer, Jr.

Running for: Council At-Large
Website: https://www.farmerforlexington.com

1. Nicholasville Road corridor is a major contributor to how Pensacola Park neighborhood interacts with the city, in fact only one of our routes from our neighborhood goes to a different location (Rosemont Garden); so most of our streets spill out onto Nicholasville Road primarily. While the Imagine Nicholasville Road comprehensive plan focuses on the bus and car, aka the driving experience, our neighborhood often uses other forms of transportation, like walking and biking; as we make up UK professors, medical professionals, students, families, and elderly people. If you were elected to council, how do you propose to be our advocate in working to improve upon the Nicholasville Road experience? For instance, how would you help work with us and the state to get a median installed so that pedestrians have a refuge to cross over to the other side? How do you propose to help widen walkways to be more ADA compliant? How do you propose to safely transverse bikers up the Nicholasville Road corridor.

The best way to answer all parts of question one is to be intentional. In working to be elected in the At-Large role brings the opportunity to shape the council to work on these issues. Picking the best committee chairs ranks first. Giving them issue direction while working with the existing committee issues list follows that.

  • Potentially reorienting the Corridors Commission to move beyond just beautification to policy and implementation functions.
  • Using your corridor as a beginning point for other corridors we can activating the best answers for yours then other neighborhoods.
  • I’ve worked to add multimodal opportunities dating back to working with Mayor Miller and the Ky Dept of Transportation to repave and restripe Euclid removing two automobile lanes and adding bike lanes. I intend to continue that work.

2. In February 2020, Louisville Metro Council passed the 100% renewable-energy ordinance setting out the goals of 100% clean electricity for Metro operations by 2030, 100% clean energy for Metro operations by 2035, and 100% clean energy community-wide by 2040. Similarly, Frankfort recently passed a resolution that calls for 100% clean renewable electricity for City government operations by 2023, 100% clean energy for City government by 2030, and 100% clean renewable electricity community-wide by 2030. At the moment, Lexington has no plans for transition to renewables despite having been named “BigFoot” for having the largest per capita
carbon footprint in the nation. What will you do to remedy this situation? What renewable energy goals will you propose for Lexington (LFUCG and the community), and what actions and what policies will you implement to achieve those goals?

From your question description I’m surprised to understand we have no plans in this area and feel the need to change that. I know we discussed in Environment Quality trying to lead by example with our Energy Improvement Fund but in relation to your question that’s not enough. The Environmental Quality Committee should make policy recommendations similar to other places near and far and then continue to work on making it happen.

3. Per the KRS Chapter 67C, fair, diverse representation is cited as a must when it comes to a planning commission, but Lexington has declared itself not a consolidated local government but an urban county government under KRS Chapter 67a, which means it has its own governing rules in this arena. Currently, they do not have governing bylaws that address a balanced governing body, nor mandates that only a certain amount of appointees sit on the commission that have direct financial interests in development; there are no restrictions on how long a district representation can sit on the commission, no real transparency on who is sitting on the board, and a lack of professional representation when it comes to the cities infrastructure (eg. social workers, environmentalists, landscape architects, urban planners, civil engineers, professors, transportation engineers, traffic engineers, stormwater engineers, etc). While planning commision is appointed by the mayor, they are confirmed by Council. If you are elected for Council, how do you propose amending our current planning commission bylaws to be more transparent, equal, and fair?

I wouldn’t limit the conversation to just the Planning Commission.

4. Neighborhoods currently feel under attack when it comes to developmentally driven projects that are pushed through by LFUCG, with little regard to how they engage with their surroundings. This is often a result of there being a lack of smart developmental design guidelines in zoning texts that would ultimately help integrate newer developments into existing urban fabric. The original Imagine Lexington comprehensive plan proposed city design guidelines that would address this issue, but this was nixed on a council level. If you are elected to this position, how do you propose addressing potential design guidelines with planning staff as they amend current zoning laws to help for better developmental integration into existing

Land management remains a huge opportunity for the LFUCG. Nestled by farms, Lexington needs to act wisely in land use planning. The planning staff and others pursue a policy of going up instead of out. As an At-Large Councilperson I will focus the resources of the council via the committee structure to get all of these parties in the same room and come up with resolutions. The best investment we can make is in staff. Lexington has an enviable planning history but just now we need leadership to improve neighborhoods across the urban service area.

5. Do you believe there is a housing shortage? If so, do you support the downzoning of commercial properties to mixed use residential and potential moratoriums on issuing commercial permits to help address the current housing crisis?

There is a shortage of housing in certain types of homes and rentals. In encouraging more staffing I believe we can update our zoning designations to benefit the USA. It is also important to protect neighborhoods from short term rental related issues. Not enough has been done there. Before I left council service there was an ordinance package ready for consideration. Finishing that work remains a priority for me.

6. Do you think Lexington is a successful city when it comes to urban planning? If so,
why? If not, why not, and what are things it can do to improve upon itself?

As mentioned above Lexington has a rich planning history. Having chaired two comprehensive plan updates I believe both our processes and outcomes continue to hinge on known concepts of infill, our opportunity is now in creating a more diverse structure usage.

The Urban County Council can lead on this issue but expertise must be assured and the public must be central to the process. I will be the At-Large member that can guide the Council and keep Lexington and your neighborhood special.