Letters to the Editor

Approve rural zoning plans

As stated in the excellent June 21 editorial, the Planning and Public Safety Committee did the right thing by passing a massive amendment to Lexington’s Zoning Ordinance that would dramatically increase recreational and tourism opportunities throughout Fayette County.

The most sweeping amendments are to our rural zones — allowing for new agritourism and ecotourism in a way that balances the needs of agriculture and natural-resource preservation with increased public access and recreation.

Striking the right balance is critical to our agricultural economy, as well as our quality of life. Our rural areas support a $2.4 billion agricultural industry that provides one in nine jobs in Fayette County. Moreover, our rural areas drive a travel and tourism industry that contributed over $2 billion and over 15,000 jobs in 2015 alone.

Our land-use policies must continue to support our agricultural foundation and natural resource management as a means to further strengthen economic development, tourism and recreational opportunities. We cannot afford to do otherwise.

The diverse work group convened in 2012 by then-Vice Mayor Linda Gorton carefully analyzed the potential direct and indirect impacts of each new use, as well as possible unintended consequences. The recommendations passed by the committee are the result of an exhaustive and thorough process and strike the right balance.

We urge the council to adopt the recommendations.

Susan B. Speckert

Executive Director, Fayette Alliance