2022 Candidate Q&A – Dan Wu

Dan Wu
Dan Wu

Running for: Council At-Large
Website: http://www.danwuforlex.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?

I would encourage everyone to continue to give input into our Comprehensive Plan as it’s undergoing its 5-year assessment & pay special mind to its Imagine Nicholasville Road project. I agree with many of its proposals including protected bike lanes, added bus stops, & more pedestrian safety improvements like limiting certain turn lanes. Nicholasville Road aka Highway 27 is a Kentucky State road so I would lobby Frankfort for funding & cooperation in making these improvements.

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?

I will work with LFUCG’s newly hired sustainability coordinator to create new sustainable & environmentally focused policies, including “greening” government & city buildings & prioritizing contracts to companies with sustainable practices. I will continue to pressure entities like KU to stop destroying our tree canopy & work with organizations like Trees Lex to increase that canopy. I will push for “Green scores” & “Walkabilities scores” for new developments to make sure we build environmental sustainability into all future growth.

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 commission 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 think it’s vital to bring impacted communities & neighborhoods into the planning & development process early & often with the city playing a facilitator role. I would like to see that engagement be a requirement of developments, especially those seeking zone changes. I think City Council should use the Comprehensive Plan’s goals & objectives to assess each of the Mayor’s Planning Commission appointments to ensure they will uphold those aims.

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 neighborhoods?

We must bring developers, communities & neighborhoods together to create a more collaborative process to create the kind of housing & development this city really needs and wants. This includes design standards that fit into the general essence of a neighborhood whenever possible. The Meadow Thorpe Senior Apartments are a good example of this done right.

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 no doubt that we have a shortage of affordable housing in this city. I support more mixed-use developments (retail/restaurants below, housing above) as well as commercial sectors in walking distance from residential areas – Southland, Meadowthorpe, Chevy Chase are great examples. I think rezoning commercial areas to mixed use residential could work in certain circumstances like the corners of Alexandria & Versailles on the old drugstore sites.

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?

Urban planning is a challenge all over the country & here in Lexington we can definitely do better, starting w/ more & better input/collaboration between developers & communities, facilitated by the city.