Monday, January 19, 2009

Destination 2040: Part 4

Today, we will pick-up with the action statements for Physical Growth. This aspect concerns where we place the elements necessary to implement to actions for Human Needs and should be thought of in relation to the next aspect, Economic Expansion.
For Aspect 2, Physical Growth, the community elements are:

Transportation Alternatives / Monorail
Public Facilities such as Parks, Schools

Land Use Decisions

Infrastructure - Roads / Utilities

Population Growth
Infill and Redevelopment
Planned Urban Growth Areas
Green Building - Sustainability
Preservation of Natural and Built Environments
As we saw previously, the rankings are a little out of kilter. The implementation of infrastructure, public facilities and transportation alternatives is simplified by good land use decisions. To that end I will re-arrange the top four elements in my comments.

Actions suggested for Land Use Decisions begin with identifying a group of “permanent stakeholders”. Is there not a group currently identified, called the population of Lexington and Central Kentucky? The participants listed lean heavily toward the rural preservation side of any land use question, so, how does this limit the conflict in these said decisions?

The next two actions may be reversed as I see that a total review of the zoning ordinances and regulations should take place before any revisions would take place. Both of these are needed and it is probably a good time to set this in motion again. The last re-write of the ordinances was done in the late 80’s and the one done before that was mid-60’s, so every twenty years or so is not a bad average.

Our fourth action statement about Land Use is a move toward using less land for residential development, which is almost a given since maintaining the Urban Service Area boundary as a limit to growth is a treasured goal. This smaller, more vertical housing type is perfect for mixed-use and/or TOD projects.

A move away form the current restrictive system of parcel-by-parcel zoning into a more general sweeping rezoning of property may have greater legal implications and in some instances a perceived taking by some landowners. Five years may be a very short time-span in which to complete this action, considering the possible legal ramifications.

The last Land Use action entails expanding to a regional approach in all planning decisions and some respects, small baby steps have been taken. These small steps should continue until we can pick up the ball and run full force. The history of animosity between Fayette and our surrounding counties needs to be acknowledged and each party make amends to foster a useful regional planning agency.

The Transportation and Public Facilities actions should be taken in cooperation with each other, as the public facilities need to be connected by the transportation facilities. The first three transportation actions are a logical extension of the current mode of operations. More park and ride lots are a short-term solution, at least until the transit system can begin to reach within a quarter mile of the residents. The park and ride lots can evolve in to stops for the light rail/streetcar system. Light rail, in the context of this report, does not seem to be a regional system but more of a streetcar style transportation mode. The expansion of services to regional communities and the regional agreements (and not just those concerning Versailles and Winchester) should go hand in hand. The expansion should not stop at the first ring of surrounding communities, but they should help connect us into the rest of the Kentucky Triangle.

The enhancements to the regional parkway and Interstate system may be obsolete by the time they are paid for, so any return on investment should be carefully considered. Likewise the use of HOV lanes, as these solutions have had various levels of success in other locations.

How did we let the discussion of cycling and our trails system get so far down the list of actions to be taken (8 out of 9). This should be much further up the list.

The work with out state legislature, should not be about more funding (that sound like tax increases), but a re-prioritizing of the existing funding structure. The new Federal administration appears to want to start the pendulum in the other direction in terms of its funding of transportation in the latest stimulus proposal. We and the state should jump on that band wagon.

The advanced planning for predictable public infrastructure/facilities should, as noted above, be done in conjunction with the transportation elements being set forth. Facilities should not dictate where transportation linkages go, but should be planned along side the linkages. Any park/trail funding should be similar to the transportation funding and be re-prioritized from within existing funding.

The other three actions under the Public Facility Capacity list are ones which may be combined in some way. A large amphitheater and a new major civic arena may (or should) be considered together, likewise the requested brownfield redevelopment on Old Frankfort Pike have the amphitheater. In any case they all should be planned along a transit/streetcar/light rail route.

All infrastructure be it public or private should be adequately maintained. That is the reason that we have a Code Enforcement division, to keep everything up to code. We should and do allow for flexibility in the design of creative solutions, but we should not jump at any and all different designs just because they are different. We should not only promote, but require underground utilities in the urban core area. It should be required in all redevelopment of anything within a two mile radius of Main and Limestone and we should enlist the cooperation of UK in the accomplishment of this action.

The implementation of all the transportation facilities, public facilities and infrastructure utilities need to completed within the framework and predicated on the good land use decisions with we started this entry.

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