Growth and Quality of Life in the Bluegrass Region

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September 3, 1997

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

FROM: Ed Jennings

The growth issues that receive so much attention in Lexington (see the memo to that working group) have their parallels in surrounding counties of the metropolitan area as other communities grapple with issues of land use, economic development, and the quality of life. You have to make a basic choice between two options. One is to select a neighboring county and/or community and focus on land use issues there. If you do that you will need to identify relevant issues, analyze the interest and values at stake, decide whether to focus on process or substantive concerns, and proceed to develop recommendations for local decision makers.

The other alternative is to examine land use planning in the region, asking how a fragmented decision-making system affects patterns of growth, economic development, and the quality of life. Are there unintended consequences that flow from independent decision-making by different communities? Do land use decisions in one county have impacts on neighboring communities or counties? Is there a problem? If so, what if anything can be done about it? Are there procedural or structural solutions? Can competing values and interests be accommodated in a regional framework?