Why & How

Imagine Lexington, the 2018 Comprehensive Plan, is designed to create a vision and strategy that will allow Lexington to grow and prosper while preserving, protecting and enhancing existing neighborhoods, downtown and the rural Bluegrass cultural landscape.

Comprehensive planning is a process that determines goals and aspirations for community development. Lexington’s first Comprehensive Plan was completed in 1931, only a few years after the nation’s first adopted Comprehensive Plan, completed in 1925 by Cincinnati, Ohio. Imagine Lexington illustrates a rich planning tradition and heritage, and demonstrates a community commitment to progressive planning.

What is a Comprehensive Plan?

Why is a Comprehensive Plan needed?

Well-planned cities do not happen by accident, nor do they appear overnight. As Lexington has grown and evolved throughout the years, the City has both built on opportunities and learned from challenges. Imagine Lexington is the next chapter in our city’s history and offers the opportunities for everyone to be involved in shaping the future of our community.

What Makes Up a Community?

Components of a Community


Imagine Lexington creates a vision and strategy for Lexington’s development, looking at a number of components within the community. Road patterns, park design, rural preservation, residential and commercial development – down to the smallest details like sidewalk crossings – are addressed within the Plan.

In addition to being a visionary document, the Comprehensive Plan is also required by state statute. KRS 100 requires any community engaging in land use regulations to have a Comprehensive Plan, and update it every five years.

What is the Imagine Lexington's Process?

Imagine Lexington, the 2018 Comprehensive Plan Update, was approved by the Planning Commission on February 28, 2019. This Plan was developed in two phases; Phase 1: Goals & Objectives, the foundation and framework of the Plan, and Phase 2: Elements & Implementation, the meat and potatoes.



The Division of Planning began collecting and analyzing data in late 2016 in order to better understand Lexington’s growth and development needs. 2017 marked the beginning of Phase 1: Goals & Objectives. Staff first reached out to the community of Lexington to hear how they envisioned the future of their city. Public input was collected through March 2017 and an extensive analysis was completed in April 2017. This public input helped guide the formation of Imagine Lexington’s Goals & Objectives. Vetted through the Planning Commission and an Ad Hoc Council Committee, Imagine Lexington’s Goals & Objectives were adopted by Council on November 16, 2017. Read more about Phase 1’s public input on the Get Involved page.

Staff then moved on to Imagine Lexington’s Phase 2: Elements & Implementation, working with the Planning Commission through the summer of 2018 to draft the Plan. Using the Goals & Objectives as a foundation, the Plan was reviewed theme-by-theme to reflect Lexington’s vision and growth strategy to preserve, protect and enhance existing neighborhoods, downtown and the rural Bluegrass cultural landscape. One of the largest tasks for staff was drafting criteria to be used to evaluate zone changes, which eventually became known as The Placebuilder. Check out the Placebuilder page to read it, or view the Get Involved for public input opportunities that will be available as part of Imagine Lexington’s upcoming Implementation phase.