Mayor Jim Newberry has arranged a meeting for Monday between presidents of neighborhood associations around the University of Kentucky and representatives of landlords to talk about proposed amendments to the city's zoning code that deal with housing density.
Newberry said he wanted to see whether there is a way to reach agreement on changes that need to be made. He said he hopes for an exchange of views "that will result in people seeing something they can agree to."
The meeting, scheduled for 11 a.m. Monday, will be limited to invited neighborhood representatives, landlords, four Urban County Council members and members of Newberry's administration.
The meeting will be held one day before the amendments are scheduled to be debated and voted on by the Urban County Council's Planning Committee.
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Councilwoman-at-large Linda Gorton, chairwoman of the committee, said the amendments deal with trying to limit how many renters can live in a house in a neighborhood of single-family houses.
"This is not a student issue. It's a density issue found in other parts of town," Gorton said.
Residents around the university say landlords buy small homes built after World War II, build a huge addition and advertise that the house can accommodate 12 to 14 people.
In one single-family neighborhood in councilwoman Diane Lawless's district, a house was advertised on Craigslist as having nine bedrooms and four bathrooms, Lawless said. The ad said the house could accommodate up to 18 people, Lawless said.
Neighbors say that kind of density is destroying their neighborhoods.
The mayor was asked which of the amendments was likely to be the most challenging for both sides to agree on. He said he would know better after "we get everybody around the table and start talking."
Newberry said he hoped that having face-to-face talks between neighborhoods and landlords might dispel misconceptions about each side's attitudes.
"If we can find a solution to a problem that has been afflicting this community for the last 25 to 30 years, it will be time well spent," Newberry said.
The mayor arranged Monday's gathering in a closed-doors meeting Friday with Gorton, Lawless, several neighborhood presidents and members of his administration.
Molly Davis, president of the Elizabeth Street Neighborhood Association, was there. Davis said she came away unconvinced that neighborhood interests were a top priority with Newberry.
"He seems to want to do something that pleases everybody — the remodelers, the landlords, everybody," she said.
"It would be nice if he had more interest in the people who have already made an investment by buying homes, living in those homes in the neighborhoods," Davis said.