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Lexington Council Committee Reviews Purchase of Development Rights Program

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A review of Lexington’s Purchase of Development Rights program by a Council committee Tuesday included discussion of a designated revenue stream to help support the rural land preservation effort. 

It would involve the use of hotel/motel tax money.

Council member Kevin Stinnett raised the option of  a transient room tax during the Planning Committee meeting.  He says it would require a voter referendum on setting aside one-half percent of motel/hotel tax revenues to help buy rural easements. 

With the likelihood of additional Lexington government costs to cover pension changes along with local budget demands, Stinnett says funding PDR will be challenging in 2019. 

“We’re going to have a tough time and this will be one of the programs that will be on the chopping block unfortunately, if we don’t do something differently, especially of the pension mandate comes down the way it’s already drafted,” said Stinnett.

The council committee took no action on the issue.

A council subcommittee is reviewing the membership of the urban county government’s Planning Commission along with the Board of Adjustments and Rural Land Management Board. 

Planning and Public Safety Committee Chair Jennifer Scutchfield sees a need for examining panel representation. 

“We want to make sure that we are representing all of Lexington and not just having the people who have an interest in horse farms because it is taking everybody’s tax money in order to purchase the farms,” noted Scutchfield.

The Purchase of Development Rights Program has been supported with local, state, and federal tax dollars.  Some 28,000 acres have been protected so far with a goal of 50,000 acres.

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