Council should reject 5-story hotel next to neighborhood

Infill good, but not at neighborhoods' expense

November 27, 2012 

Plopping a five-story hotel down right next to a Lexington neighborhood would set a terrible precedent.

The city's professional planning staff and the Planning Commission recognized this and wisely rejected a proposal for a Hampton Inn at Nicholasville Road and Collins Lane.

The proposal conflicts with the city's comprehensive plan, a blueprint for growth that is produced through public processes and on which property owners should be able to depend.

The hotel would far exceed the 35-foot height limit for the area. And there would be only 23 feet of buffer between the proposed development and backyards along Goodrich Avenue.

Nonetheless, developer Phil Greer has appealed the Planning Commission's decision to the Urban County Council which is scheduled to hear the appeal Tuesday.

The site is zoned for neighborhood business (B1), and neighbors would welcome its redevelopment as neighborhood businesses. The hotel would require a highway service business (B3) zoning, clearly incompatible with a residential neighborhood.

There are circumstances when it could be appropriate to approve a development that conflicts with the comprehensive plan, but this is not one of them.

Lexington must find ways to redevelop under-utilized areas, it's true. But infill development that harms vibrant neighborhoods and diminishes the quality of life for Lexington residents, as this one would, defeats the purpose.

Older neighborhoods inside New Circle Road are among Lexington's treasures. The council should be looking to protect and enhance them, not turn them into another highway attraction.

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