NewsCovering Kentucky


Zoning denied for disputed Maxwell Street housing project

Posted at 5:35 AM, Feb 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-12 08:11:05-05

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — In a major blow to a real estate developer Tuesday, the Lexington Fayette Urban County Council rejected a proposal to rezone an area on East Maxwell Street.

If passed, the change would have made way for a 10-story luxury apartment building to replace the houses along the street, between Stone and Lexington Avenues.

The request was made last summer by Aptitude Development LLC, a real estate development company that has already planted its flag in another city in Kentucky.

"In Louisville, the one bedroom at a place called The Marshall goes for $999 a month," said Beau Revlett, an affordable housing advocate who attended Tuesday's meeting. "In Syracuse, a one bedroom goes for $1800 a month. These are ridiculously expensive apartments."

Dozens of University of Kentucky students and other opponents attended the meeting Tuesday to express their concerns about the project.

"I think it's everyone's responsibility to speak out when things that are happening in your community go against your values," said Kaitlyn Frick, a senior at UK.

Many speakers said they worried that the project would displace current residents who may not be able to afford other housing nearby. They also argued the rich history in the area would be erased once a massive ten-story building was established.

“Eight of the 12 buildings the applicant proposes to demolish are more than 100 years old," said Jessica Winters, counsel for Aylesford Place Neighborhood Association.

Representatives for Aptitude countered that the project would improve the area, citing the more than 614 pages of documents listing code enforcement violations.

"A number of [houses] are boarded up today," Hutter said. "A number of them have significant code violations. That's not us. We're simply in contract to purchase these."

But after tonight's vote, that reality appears to be dwindling.