Public Receives First Look At New Design Guidelines For Downtown

Nov 14, 2013

The public got a chance to review new design standards for development in downtown Lexington Thursday.

The plans received a warmer welcome than they did at a Planning Committee meeting earlier in the week.

The standards drafted by the Design Excellence Task Force set limits on things like building height, the location of parking structures, and the general aesthetics of new buildings. Tuesday, the plan met with pushback from the Planning Committee, with some members worrying aloud that the new guidelines might do more to discourage developers than attract them.

One soon-to-be downtown business owner, Missy Scanlon, attended the meeting to see what effect the guidelines might have on her business. She says she came away feeling mostly positive about the idea of creating clearer standards for development, but she’ll need to hear more information first.

"I think it's important that there's some continuity, [but] there are an awful lot of rules that we have to follow already and I just want to make sure that the rules are fair and evenly applied," Scanlon says.

Scanlon is set to open iBar, an internet café and repair shop, on Main Street across from Rupp Arena next year.

Several at the meeting said they would like to see a guideline requiring developers to prove they have financing in place before demolishing historic buildings, an issue that arose with the CentrePointe project.

The guidelines would need approval from both the Planning Commission and the Urban County Council before moving forward.