What happens when Lexington runs out of space?

Want to know what I am thinking about?  Land.  That’s right, how much of it we have left in Fayette County and what it means when we run out.

Lexington has an Urban Service area, which is the land available for development…..it’s like our version of what other towns call their “City Limits.”

Short of expanding it, we will run out soon.  Now, I am sure the city will reluctantly expand it a little, but we don’t really have much space left.  Period.  We are already to Jessamine County on the south.  We have giant horse farms to the east and west.  These are farms owned by people who don’t need money.  Even if they decided to sell, it just would not be profitable to develop.  Plus, many farms sold off their property development rights, aka PDR, to the city.  That means they will always be farms.  Anything outside the urban service area cannot be subdivided into anything less than 40 acres.

About all we have left is out towards Georgetown and Winchester Road.  After that it is infill.  After than we will probably see more construction in adjoining towns, giving Lexington “Real” suburbs.

So what will happen at that point?  Prices in Lexington will go up.  Neighborhoods/locations that have been less than desirable will become more desirable.  We’ll see many older neighborhoods renewed since people will be happy to live somewhere in Fayette County.  We’ll see more additions and remodeling too.

Lexington will continue to grow, like it or not.  It is just too pretty of a town to not.  It has enough large employers that it will always be the commercial center of this half of the state.  Many people go to college here and never leave.  Truth.

Think of it in these terms…..the 40502 zip code has always been the most desirable part of Lexington.  There really are no bad areas of 40502.  Kenwick was the armpit of 40502 until about the mid 90’s.  That neighborhood still has a long way to go in the very back, but it is getting there quickly.   People want to live there for its location.  Same thing will happen all over Lexington eventually.  Many neighborhoods that people are not interested in today will go up a notch or two in desirability as living anywhere in Lexington becomes more desirable than commuting from a surrounding town.  As prices in 1st choice neighborhoods go up due to demand, that will push buyers to their 2nd choice neighborhoods.  Rinse.  Wash.  Repeat.  The values of the 2nd choice neighborhoods will go up, pushing buyers down another ring.  At that point many will have to pick between living in Lexington or being in Nicholasville, Winchester or Georgetown.  Those are the surrounding towns that I think will grow the most as we run out of space.

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