‘Lexington for Everyone’ formed, will push ‘common-sense’ land policies

Affordable housing among some of the issues

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ/Press Release) – A nonprofit group has launched in Lexington to educate and advocate for balanced, common-sense land policies.

Lexington for Everyone is concerned that future land use policies will be enacted without the public’s complete understanding of the impact. It will work to educate Lexington residents about how policies impact three key issues – jobs, homes and equity.

For example, most people probably don’t realize that in Lexington, 70 percent of the land is designated rural. That means only 30 percent can be used for most homes and job creation opportunities, the group said.

Existing and proposed regulations have an impact on all aspects of residents’ lives and the community’s future. Here are just some of the consequences:

  • Only five new homes were built and sold in 2020 for under $200,000 in the entire county.
  • Local companies are being forced to relocate to other counties because there is almost no suitable land to expand jobs.
  • The city could be facing a budget deficit of as much as $17 million by 2024 as projections show revenues are not keeping pace with expenses and may need to increase taxes.
  • Proposed plans could triple the density in established neighborhoods.
  • Countless longtime East End residents are being displaced by gentrification.

“You may have felt the impact on you or your family and wondered about the causes and what can be done,” said Ray Daniels, a board member of Lexington for Everyone, which is registering as a 501(c)4 nonprofit. “For too long, Lexington has been told that we must choose between protecting iconic horse farms or creating jobs and building homes at a variety of prices. As a business owner and horse owner, I believe we can do both. We can – and must – work together to create common-sense, balanced local land policies that provide access and opportunity to lift up our neighbors at every stage of life and every segment of our community.”

Lexington for Everyone board members represent a diverse group of residents:

  • Ray Daniels owns Equity Solutions Group (ESG), a strategic sourcing company with an emphasis on reducing expenses while ensuring competitive participation from qualified diverse businesses. He also is a horse owner, serves as chairman of Commerce Lexington and is a former member of the Fayette County Public School Board.
  • Raquel Carter owns Guide Realty and is currently active on the Kentucky Real Estate Commission and many equity initiatives as well as supporting community efforts such as the Lyric Theatre, Black Soil and various public schools.
  • Rob Shear is general manager of SRC of Lexington, an employee-owned manufacturing company with 140 employees.
  • Reverend L. Clark Williams is director of ministry at Shiloh Baptist Church, owns a consulting firm and is chairman of the People’s Campaign.
  • Carla Blanton owns Carla Blanton Consulting, serves as chair of Commerce Lexington’s Public Policy Council and previously served on the Lexington Planning Commission.
  • Rachel Smith Childress is the CEO of Lexington Habitat for Humanity.

Daniels said the group will advocate for several goals:

  • Creating housing opportunities in all price ranges for all citizens in all phases of life.
  • Maintaining a diverse and vibrant economy.
  • Ensuring the creation of balanced, common-sense, practical local policies and regulations that do not pit one segment of our community against another.
  • Keeping Lexington competitive for jobs and talent across all economic sectors.
  • Advancing all of Lexington’s unique characteristics and cultural diversity.
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