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Lexington Council votes to move much-discussed accessory dwelling unit ordinance forward

Stu Johnson
Lexington City Council Work Session Oct. 12, 2021

After much study, the Lexington City Council has taken the first step to establishing guidelines for accessory dwelling units in the bluegrass community. Officials moved the plan forward during Tuesday’s work session.

Consideration of an accessory dwelling unit ordinance has seen both intensive review and public comment. Citizen input Tuesday included requests to allow detached structures, in part as a way to care for loved ones. Council Member Preston Worley sought to amend the proposal to allow for separate ADU’S with conditional use restrictions. Council Member Jennifer Reynolds was among the majority who voted down the amendment. “The average person probably won’t be able to afford to build an ADU unless they had some sort of funding to do that,” said Reynolds.

As written, accessory dwelling units would be allowed through an addition to an existing house, conversion of a garage, or conversion of a basement. The owner must live in the home or ADU and the accessory dwelling unit is limited to two adults and related children. Over time, Vice Mayor Steve Kay said separate accessory dwelling units could be found in Lexington. “I would like to see them in this community. I think they would be an asset. I don’t think the community is ready for them. And I don’t want us to do something that gets backlash and that interrupts the process of slowly but surely moving toward full implementation of ADUs,” said Kay.

Council Member James Brown said he envisions a more thorough future focus on short-term rental issues. The matter now goes on the Council docket.

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