Growth and Quality of Life in Lexington

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September 3, 1997

TO: Working Group on Growth and the Quality of Life-Lexington

FROM: Ed Jennings

As I've noted in class, there have been a series of issues over the last several years that have ignited conflict over perceived tensions between growth and the quality of life in Lexington. These include revisions to the Master Plan, the proposed addition of a runway at the airport, and the proposed development of land along Reynolds Road. Specifc development proposals for smaller plots of land also generate heat. As consultants to the Urban County Council, it is your job to figure out how the urban county government can more effectively deal with these issues.

You need to start by familiarizing yourself with the general contours of land use policy and land use decision-making in Lexington. What are the basic policies? How are decisions made? You then need to identify major issues or decisions that can provide a focus for analysis. You need to develop an understanding of the interests and values that are at stake in the land use planning process. Who does battle over these issues and why?

What are the factual claims that are made by contending parties in land use conflicts? How well grounded are their theories about the consequences of particular proposals or general approaches? How do we separate slogans and hyperbole from reality? What role does image creation play in land use decision-making? How do race and class enter into land use decision-making?

What are the relevant criteria for land use decision making? How does one choose among competing visions of the community? What criteria should be used to assess the process by which decisions are made? Are there steps that can be taken to improve the decision-making process and create a greater sense of satisfaction with land-use decision-making in the community? What are the roles of administrators, the Planning Commission, and the Urban County Council? Should those roles be adjusted? Should the process be altered? Can more analysis of proposals or the use of different types of analysis improve the process?

You may select either a substance or a process focus, and you certainly want to understand how the two are related.