Lexington council OKs moratorium on dorm-like home additions

bfortune@herald-leader.comOctober 16, 2009 

Lexington's Urban County Council on Thursday approved a moratorium on home additions that would be 25 percent greater than the original structure.

The moratorium is for six months. It affects only properties in the Third Council District, which includes neighborhoods around the University of Kentucky campus.

The action was taken in response to landlords who buy single-family houses and convert them into dorm-like rental units for students.

There was little discussion before the vote except for a request by councilwoman Cheryl Feigel to delay the vote. Feigel said she feared the moratorium would negatively "impact families contemplating legitimate additions." Those people have not been given ample opportunity to speak on the issue, she said.

However, 13 council members voted in favor of the moratorium. Feigel cast the one vote in opposition. Councilwoman Andrea James was absent.

Molly Davis, president of the Elizabeth Street Neighborhood Association, said after the meeting she was "extremely pleased. It's the first step to doing something."

The city needs to close loopholes in its infill and redevelopment plan which allow conversion of single-family homes for other uses, Davis said.

Councilwoman Diane Lawless, who sponsored the resolution, said the first step will be to comb through city ordinances to find ones not currently being enforced.

Councilman Julian Beard said he had been contacted by UK staff member Stephen Byars on Thursday morning.

"He said they will help in our efforts to be part of the solution rather than part of the problem," Beard said. The councilman said that was "very refreshing" to hear, because he had not felt that cooperative spirit from UK in the past.

Reach Beverly Fortune at (859) 231-3251 or 1-800-950-6397, Ext. 3251

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