Affordable Lexington – The Town Is Making Changes

Lexington has long struggled with affordable housing. But now the town is making a change.

Fifty-two years ago, Lexington click here residents voted 107-63 to make it easier for developers to build multifamily homes on a variety of sites around the city. The change is aimed at easing the town’s ongoing affordable housing crisis, which includes the need for more low-income, workforce apartments and townhouses.

The move comes amid a national housing crisis that has pushed housing prices up and forced people to spend more of their income on rent or mortgages. The problem is especially acute in Lexington, where gentrification and the popularity of the city as a tourist destination have pushed up home values and pushed out low-income families.

While the town does have some affordable and workforce housing, the need is far greater than the current supply. Wait lists for these homes can be up to five years long, according to town officials. The town needs about $40.8 million a year to make up the shortfall, which takes into account inflation.

That is the amount needed to maintain existing affordable and workforce housing and build more units, according to a town analysis. However, the town has been allocating significantly less than that, and it is not enough to keep up with the growing need.

In order to address this, the town is working with a group of financial institutions that have pooled together more than $2.8 million. It has been earmarked for a partnership to build new, affordable apartments and townhouses on Transylvania University’s former baseball field on Radcliffe Road and Haggard Lane.

Those new homes would be for families with incomes at or below 80 percent of the area median income. The city hopes to build about 200 of those homes.

The town is also changing its zoning laws to encourage the construction of these new kinds of units. It will allow more types of buildings in the R-2 residential zone, which currently allows only single-family houses. It will allow for more apartments and townhouses, and the town is offering a density “bonus” to developers that include affordable and workforce housing on their property. The bonuses are intended to help cut costs, which can make these projects profitable.

The changes will take time to play out, but it is a start. City leaders hope to build upon this effort and to continue making the city more affordable for its entire population. Meanwhile, individuals can take steps to prepare for purchasing a home by getting control of their budgets and eliminating debt. They can also save up as much money as possible, which will make them stronger candidates for a mortgage loan when they decide to buy. Professor Blackwell says those who are looking to make Lexington their permanent home should start saving now and plan for the future. He also suggests that they pay off high-cost debts, such as credit card payments, before applying for a mortgage.