Growth Management Limits: The Case of Lexington, Kentucky (USA)

Authors: Lynn Phillips*, University of Kentucky
Topics: Urban and Regional Planning, Land Use, Rural Geography
Keywords: urban services boundary, urban growth boundary, growth management, Kentucky, urban planning
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: Lincoln 2, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: Download


In 1958, Lexington, Kentucky became the first United States community to adopt an Urban services boundary (USB). Originally intended to demarcate areas where sewer delivery would be cost-effective, the USB has served 60+ years as an exemplar land use planning tool to preserve the region’s iconic thoroughbred horse farm landscape. Through its history, the USB been attacked in restricting developable land, and driving higher housing prices. Advocates of the USB laud its effectiveness in limiting sprawl and establishing a strong urban-rural boundary. The boundary has been adjusted several times, succumbing to developers and growth machine advocates. Some wonder if it has outlived its usefulness. The Lexington-Fayette Urban County Planning Commission is conducting a study of the long term viability of the USB and whether expansion should be triggered by development metrics, and managed similarly to USBs in Oregon and Washington. This poster provides a longitudinal, quantitative and qualitative analysis of land inside and outside Lexington’s USB, and considers future rural land use shifts if the USB is retired as a growth management tool.

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