Running for: Mayor
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 mayor, 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 Imagine Nicholasville proposal and study outlined a lot of the same issues, and while there were not a lot of solutions given I do not believe it was for lack of trying. Placing a median on Nicholasville road does not seem feasible given the amount of traffic the road sees on a daily basis, a problem which could have been prevented with appropriate long term planning for infrastructure. At this point it is my belief that we need to treat the Nicholasville corridor like the intercity roadway it is, and work to provide safe, accessible, and connected pedestrian pathways by way of the surrounding feeder and collector streets.
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 am highly supportive of any goals to increase our access and dependence on renewable energy. That being said, the option of partial municipalization of the electric company that Louisville is looking into to achieve their goal does not seem like a great fit for Lexington. Currently the city is looking into the placement of solar panels to increase energy efficiency, and has even had the issue of solar energy farms/production reviewed in committee recently. I think there are always steps we can take to move us towards our goal, but without support for a growing infrastructure of renewable energy from the state and federal level, it will be difficult for Lexington to reach the same goals of 100% renewable energy given our location and available resources.
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 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). Planning commission is appointed by the mayor, if you are elected for mayor, how do you propose amending ourcurrent planning commission bylaws to be more transparent, equal, and fair; or ensuring that the commission as it currently stands is brought up to a more fair standard?
I agree that our planning commission is not representative of the concerns of our residents, and as Mayor I will appoint new members from diverse backgrounds in order to address the problem. If there is an interest in creating requirements to the appointment process to prevent these issues from happening again, I am happy to work through the process with the community. A brief outline of the process is as follows: There would need to be support for a referendum, and after a successful vote, the state representatives would be asked to vote to amend 67a to include similar language to 67c. The process would take some time, but I would gladly work with the community on this as it is currently the only way to amend the issue posed in your question.
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 development 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 development integration into existing neighborhoods?
I believe that the Imagine Lexington plan has placed the planning staff into the unenviable position of trying to accommodate our annual growth almost exclusively through infill projects. No guidelines or zoning texts are going to be perfect for every situation, and while the planning staff has found wonderful ways to integrate new developments into existing neighborhoods, the issue comes from the sheer volume of necessary integrations in order to keep up with our consistently growing population. Inevitably conflict comes from having to use a specific set of rules for every different situation. As Mayor I believe that we need to look at more options to relieve these pressures on our neighborhoods, and make sure that planning has every tool at their disposal to ensure that our growth does not push our residents out of their established communities.
5. Do you believe there is a housing shortage? If so, do you support the zone changing of commercial properties to mixed use residential and potential moratoriums on issuing commercial permits to help address the current housing crisis?
There is a housing shortage in Lexington and we need to take strong steps to address the issue before our residents are forced to move to surrounding counties in greater numbers than they already are. I would happily support rezoning of commercial properties into mixed use to help alleviate this problem, but I would not place a moratorium on issuing commercial permits. As our city grows we need to keep balance between our residential, commercial, and industrial uses, to make sure that all of our residents can thrive.
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?
I do not believe Lexington has been successful in its urban planning as evidenced by our
handling of the growth in our city. We have not created appropriate infrastructure to
support enhanced infill and have little to no regional infrastructure to support those working in Lexington but living elsewhere. Unless we can address our issues with housing and infrastructure the bar of affluence being created to live in the city will only continue to move higher.