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what you

to Know about the

URBAN SERVICES BOUNDARY story by Barbara Meyer

The classic pattern of American city expansion is to spread out. However, in the case of Lexington, with its striking and iconic rural landscape, it’s important to ensure that growth occurs without diminishing the unique ambiance of the Bluegrass. Lexington-Fayette County has a long history of managing its heritage, showing great foresight by establishing the nation’s first Urban Services Boundary (USB) in 1958. A USB is a growth management limit that creates a boundary around a metropolitan area, set aside as a dedicated greenbelt. The USB was designed to divide the county into two parts: one, an area concentrating on urban growth, the other the rural area beyond the boundary that could be reserved for diversified agricultural industries. The area within the USB “development” area includes the city of Lexington and is about 30% of the county landmass, while the area outside the boundary makes up the remaining 70%. Included within the latter percentage are other land uses like parks, museums, country clubs, schools, churches, correctional

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facilities, camps and cemeteries. Many of them were in existence before the Urban Services Boundary concept of the 1950s and the area also includes natural spaces for wildlife habitat. The purpose of the USB is twofold: to safeguard irreplaceable farmland while channeling growth into the central urban area. As Lexington has gotten larger, the USB has expanded several times to accommodate additional development. The latest was with the increase of 5,400 acres, which included the Hamburg area. Since then, there has been increasing debate about expanding it further. One reason is because the central Kentucky housing market is tight and occupancy rates for rental properties are high. Limited availability raises the cost of homes and rent. And when it comes to finding a place to call home, many people in the Bluegrass work within the USB but live beyond it because they want a detached home with a sizable yard. In those areas, land prices can be lower, making homes more affordable in exchange for the

TOPS in Lexington | May 2019

Profile for TOPS Magazine

Tops in Lexington - May 2019  

Who's Who, What's New and What to Do in Lexington, Kentucky

Tops in Lexington - May 2019  

Who's Who, What's New and What to Do in Lexington, Kentucky