The University of Kentucky’s Coldstream Research Campus has filed an application with the LFUCG Planning Commission to change the zoning definition of a P-2 zone on the 735-acre office and research campus. The change will allow Coldstream to attract more businesses, park officials said this week.
Major Themes of the New Zoning Ordinance Text Amendments (ZOTA) Definition
1. Building density increases which result in greater land utilization. The campus becomes more pedestrian friendly by bringing buildings closer to the sidewalks.
2. Green space requirements will change from large yards surrounding all buildings and long setbacks from roads to massing large green spaces in various areas of the campus. Minimum lot size no longer needs to be 5 acres.
3. Allows for the creation of a dynamic live-work-play-learn environment to provide the social infrastructure necessary to drive the development of office and R&D facilities.
The text amendment was scheduled to be heard at the Urban County Planning Commission’s Dec. 15 meeting. Coldstream Research officials have asked that it be postponed until the commission’s Feb. 23 meeting as they make tweaks to the proposal.
“Multifamily housing will allow for the creation of a dynamic live-work-play-learn environment to provide the social infrastructure necessary to drive the development of office and R & D facilities,” wrote George Ward, executive director of the Coldstream Research Campus in his application for the P-2 zone change.
The Research Campus still has more than 200 acres available for development. More than 2,350 people work in the park for more than 56 different organizations.
“The reason why business want to locate in a research campus is to have access to talent — the researchers at the university and the students, graduate students and post-docs,” Ward said.
But young people do not want to work in isolated business parks.
“The trend for millennials is to live close to where you work,” Ward said.
In 2011, the General Assembly passed a bill that would allow university research parks to use tax increment financing, which uses taxes generated from new development to pay for public infrastructure costs such as building new roads or research facilities. Adding homes and apartments will help the park attract restaurants and other retail, Ward said. Retail and restaurants can generate enough sales tax revenue to make tax increment financing successful. “For TIFs to work, they need sales tax,” Ward said.
The proposed text amendment must be passed first by the planning commission and the council before UK could proceed with development. Currently, Coldstream is the only P-2 zone in Fayette County.