Urban County Council approves redistricting plan

Plan will govern next year's elections

UPDATE POSTED 5:30 P.M. DEC. 7, 2021

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – The Lexington-Fayette County Urban County Council approved a redistricting plan.

The Urban County Council unanimously approved redistricting (Click here for maps, details) of the county’s 12 council seats on second reading. The new plans, which realigns district lines based on the 2020 Census population numbers, will be in effect for next year’s council elections.

Qualifying for those races ends January 7 and the Council wanted to get the plan in place well before that deadline.

A committee spent weeks putting together the plan which was recommended to the Council six weeks ago.

UPDATE POSTED OCT. 28, 2021

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – The city’s redistricting committee has finished redrawing the city’s Urban County Council seat districts and the council likely will set out a timetable for a presentation and review when it meets Thursday evening.

To view the map and more about the process, click here.

Getting the plan approved has some urgency because qualifying for next year’s Council races begins Nov. 3 and ends in January so the district lines and precinct list need to be finalized so candidates know in which district they live and will run.

City leaders say the plan likely will be approved by the end of November if not sooner.

The redistricting committee, which was made up of citizens appointed from each district, has been at work since the summer, spending hours analyzing and review Census data as part of the process which is done every 10 years following the release of Census numbers.

The final plan, which was modified slightly based on comments during a public hearing on Oct. 20, comes close to meeting the optimal population number of 26,881 people per district. The final plan moves 48,803 residents from one district to another and changes 46 precincts.

The final map is within a 5% deviation for districts from the optimal number level. Those numbers are available in the map information here.

ORIGINAL STORY POSTED 4 P.M. OCT. 20, 2021

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – Lexington’s redistricting committee is nearing the end of its work to redraw the city’s Urban County Council districts based on the latest census data.

Wednesday, the public got to weigh-in, and a lot of the people who showed up weren’t happy with what they saw.

Only a handful of people joined in on the  public comment work session in downtown Lexington, but those few voices had a lot to say.

“To grow our city, it is important to nurture the working parts and find other solutions for non-working parts,” Margaret Somsel, who lives in the third district’s Goodrich neighborhood, said. “For these reasons, I’m very opposed to the redistricting. I hope you reconsider.”

One of the main focuses Wednesday was the proposed plan to merge part of district three and ten.

“District ten is hugely not beneficial to our neighborhood,” Jess Voight said, another resident of the third district’s Goodrich neighborhood. “District ten, at its core, represents a suburban outlook that focuses on pushing out the urban boundary, whereas district three focuses on an urban outlook and deals with infill issues that often has to integrate into historic downtown neighborhoods.”

And the Goodrich neighborhood within the district is intimately connected to Nicholasville Road.

“What we develop on this road affects us, affects our neighbors – Southern Heights and Southern Park.”

After getting the feedback, the committee, which is made up of people nominated by Urban County Council members from their respective districts, moved the Goodrich neighborhood back into the third district. However, that still leaves another problem – population imbalance.

“We’re struck with this process where the city has grown really unevenly,” Matt Wilson, third district representative, said.

He said district three  has been in the chopping area because of its density.

“I think that we’ve gotta find a place to reduce the third district if we want to maintain both downtown and UK as our core strengths in the third,” Wilson said.

Other issues discussed include keeping minority populations steady, community schools in place and making sure everyone has access to, and fully understands, the proposed changes.

The next hearing is next Wednesday and committee members hope to have a resolution they can present to the full Urban County Council for consideration. 

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