New Pedestrian Business District Under Review

Apr 12, 2012

A proposal floating around Lexington city hall could save some downtown businesses the cost of providing parking spots for their customers.  Current law requires most downtown businesses to provide some off- street parking.   Such parking can cost businesses several hundred dollars a month.  But, by creating what’s called a ‘Pedestrian Oriented Business District, city officials could waive that parking requirement.  Planning Department Director Chris King says the waiver could be issued in parts of the city upgraded for pedestrians.

“The council should and could only grant the waiver for commercial areas and not for the residential because we don’t want this to be a way to inadvertently bump up residential density in a way that may be threatening to neighborhoods,” said King.

King says the council could opt to waive some or all of the parking spot requirement.  As written, the draft ordinance pertains only to a portion of downtown Lexington.  Council member Steve Kay likes the idea..

“As I understand it, we would still have a lot to say about the conditions on which the actual applications are made..avenues for public input and final decision about whether it’s appropriate or not,” said Kay.

Council member Bill Farmer says such districts should also be available outside the downtown area.

“And this has been cited specifically for one on South Limestone and I understand and appreciate that..but there are other parts of Lexington that have to also play by the same parking related rules,” said Farmer.

Farmer, who owns a jewelry business, admits such waivers could benefit his neighborhood.  But he adds there are other business districts outside downtown which could reap benefits as well.  No action has been taken on the proposal.