Further Restrictions on Homeless Services Postponed

May 30, 2013

New zoning regulations proposed for facilities that care for Lexington’s adult residents concern advocates for Lexington's homeless and disabled residents.   The proposed change would require Adult Day Care Centers to seek city permission before opening up in areas zoned for business and professional.  David Christensen with the Central Kentucky Housing and Homeless Initiative says the rules seem to target Lexington’s homeless.

“We are absorbing a climate of negativity and hostility toward some of our most vulnerable citizens and I personally would like to see us move more towards collaborative, compassionate, and cooperative ways of trying to deal with issues that are legitimate concerns that people might have,” said Christensen.

By broadly defining adult day care, Rick Christman with Employment Solutions adds the new zoning rules could also impact services provided to disabled residents.  City Council member Kevin Stinnett agrees the issue needs further study.

“We identified at least 30 different centers that are in place today that otherwise couldn’t be in place if this went in as a principal use.  That’s a lot in our community,” said Christman.

But backing the restrictions is Lexington council member Chris Ford.  Ford doesn’t believe the changes would have a disproportional impact.  Home and business owners have  complained such services can open up their neighborhoods to criminal activity.  And, Ford believes their concerns should be addressed.

“I believe it’s our responsibility to be as responsive as we can to the neighbors that send us around this horse shoe.  And they’ve called for our help in particularly my, excuse me, our downtown residents,” said Ford. 

Ford wanted an up or down vote on the new zoning restrictions on adult day care centers.  The council opted for further study.