September 6th, 2021

5th District Newsletter 

Hello Neighbors,

We've had a busy few weeks since the last newsletter. Council has been moving forward on ADUs, ARPA funding, and many other items. 
I deeply appreciate all of the calls, letters, and emails from 5th District neighbors on the issue of ADUs. We had a full house at the Planning and Public Safety Committee public hearing about ADUs which was full of robust discussion. At the beginning of the four hour meeting, we were given a comprehensive presentation from the Planning Department about the proposed ordinance, heard from dozens of neighbors from across Lexington, and ultimately decided as a Council to advance an amended version of the ordinance forward. 
After hearing from voices across our communities, the Council voted on three amendments to the proposed ordinance; I supported all 3 amendments. 
  1. First, we updated and further clarified the definition of ADUs: they cannot be built on duplex lots, etc. 
  2. Next, we voted to eliminate the maximum allowed size of ADUs within the footprint of an existing home (to allow for full basement or attic conversions). 
  3. Finally, we voted to restrict newly constructed, detached ADUs. As the ordinance currently reads after these amendments, individuals would be permitted to fully renovate interior rooms of their homes for an ADU, construct additions onto their homes, and convert any existing detached structures (such as a garage) into an ADU. Individuals will not be permitted to legally build a new detached structure for an ADU. 
The Council will review the program within one year if it receives final passage. 
The amended ordinance will be introduced at the October 12th Work Session, where the public is encouraged to provide additional feedback. If the Council moves forward at that Work Session, it could receive its first reading as soon as October 14th. 
I am committed to a balanced approach to meeting our housing needs in Lexington. We must diversify our housing stock and increase affordable housing as our community continues to grow, while taking every step we can to preserve the unique character and identity of our established neighborhoods. Each amendment that was made to the proposed ZOTA reflect concerns that I've heard directly from neighbors. ADUs offer a unique opportunity to allow for our neighbors to invest in their own properties, provide a more financially accessible way to age-in-place and care for loved ones, and supplement their incomes to stay in their homes if they so choose. 
As this moves forward through the Council process, I will continue to speak up and advocate for additional resources as well as clarification of policies to address concerns about short-term rentals and the enforcement of occupancy and building codes.
On ARPA, a group of Councilmembers and I, along with our aides, sorted through and analyzed the survey and project proposal data submitted to the City. We wanted to offer all Councilmembers and the public a dataset that we can all work from together. The data is broken down by District as well as for the City overall. The data is available for your review on the City's website. Council will next meet to discuss ARPA on Thursday, September 30th, and we hope to begin narrowing down project proposals at that meeting.  

Finally, in some wonderfully exciting news the Administration announced that at-home paper recycling is scheduled to resume in March! Paper recycling is an issue near and dear to many Lexingtonians, and I am thankful that we are able to resume recycling our paper from home in the near future.

Take care,


Upcoming Meetings:
Tuesday, September 14th I was able to join the wonderful folks at Barnhill Chimney Company for the ribbon cutting ceremony for their new location on Winchester Road! The new space is wonderful and features a great mural on the exterior of their new home.  
Councilmember Hannah LeGris and I had a great time celebrating Kentucky Black Pride at Woodland Park this past Saturday!
This week 11th District Councilmember Jennifer Reynolds and I toured the new facilities that house Kentucky Refugee Ministries. The new dynamic, light-filled, and accessible space gives this vital organization a welcoming place to conduct its work. The staff of 30 work diligently to help our newest neighbors adjust to life in the United States and offer support services and resources for housing, job placement, English classes, legal services, and much more. 

While they are the premier refugee resettlement organization for the Bluegrass region, they also offer a number of services to all immigrants and refugees in our community. In addition to the more than 400 active cases that they are processing this year, KRM is expecting around 125 Afghan refugees to be relocated to Lexington and the surrounding area. Community support is always welcome. If you have any housewares, diapers, furniture, or excess funds that could be donated it would be greatly appreciated! 
This year the Lexington Fire Department is celebrating 150 years of public service to our community! There is an exciting line-up of events and ways to give back:

Tuesday, September 21st

Station 4 Open House

  • 6:00pm – 8:00pm
  • Fire Station 4 (oldest fire station) at 246 Jefferson St.
  • Festival-type atmosphere: Bounce house, food, games, station tours
  • Open and free to the public

Saturday, September 25th

Station 3 Centennial Homecoming

  • 8:00am – 12:00pm
  • Fire Station 3 at 370 Merino Street
  • This is to celebrate their centennial year (which was last year, but had to be cancelled due to COVID-19)
  • Pancake breakfast, station tours
  • Open and free to the public

Tuesday, September 28th

Blood Drive

  • 6:30am – 6:30pm
  • Lexington Fire Department Local 526 Union Hall at 2205 Thunderstick Drive
  • In partnership with the Kentucky Blood Center
  • Goal is to get 150 donations in one day in honor of our 150th anniversary and to give back to our community by helping to offset a severe national blood shortage
  • The first 150 donors will receive a free commemorative challenge coin and travel mug
  • Open and free to the public

Wednesday, September 29th

Station 24 Open House

  • 5:00pm – 8:00pm
  • Fire Station 24 (newest fire station) at 2754 Magnolia Springs Drive
  • Festival-type atmosphere: Bounce house, food, games, station tours
  • Open and free to the public

Sunday, October 3rd

Fire Prevention Festival

  • 2:00pm – 6:00pm
  • Masterson Station Park
  • This is our annual festival to recognize Fire Prevention Month (October) that usually brings in over 4,000+ attendees
  • Bounce houses, petting zoo, food, games, fire truck rides, over 40+ vendors, touch-a-truck, etc.
  • Open and free to the public

The city of Lexington has a new Junior Fire Chief. Ashlynn Stephens, a fifth grade student at Coventry Oak Elementary School, was given the honorary title by Fire Chief Jason Wells, at a ceremony held at Coventry Oak Elementary.

“The fire service is facing unique challenges that require strong leadership,” said Chief Jason Wells. “We are eager to put Ashlynn’s skill and experience to work, and we welcome her to our ranks.”

Ashlynn was presented with an official badge that was pinned to her new Lexington Fire Department uniform. The Junior Fire Chief program has been around for decades serving as a fire education and prevention program for kids in Fayette County. The honorary Junior Fire Chief title is given annually to a Fayette County fifth grade student.

“Congratulations, Ashlynn, and welcome to the Lexington Fire Department!” Mayor Linda Gorton said. “This is a special year to be Junior Fire Chief. As our Fire Department celebrates its 150th anniversary we are also keeping our eye on the future, planning to meet the needs of Ashlynn and all of Lexington’s young people.”

The Junior Fire Chief will serve as a fire department dignitary during the department’s 150th Anniversary events, and during October, which is Fire Prevention month. Stephens will appear on local news shows, tour several businesses and Lexington landmarks, and attend meetings with the Fire Chief and City Council. Additionally, Stephens will serve the LFD as an ambassador during the 150th Anniversary events.


Paper recycling from home carts will resume in March.

Thanks to an upcoming $4.2 million refresh of the Recycling Center’s machinery, the center will once again be able to recycle “clean” paper, such as office and printing papers, magazines and newspapers, collected curbside from the blue carts provided through the City’s Waste Management service.

The new equipment and upgrades to existing devices, which the Mayor included in the current budget, will allow the center to:

  • Sort paper collected curbside more effectively, and produce better quality paper;
  • Increase the capacity of the center to produce higher quality recyclables to sell.

“Both of those outcomes allow us to restore curbside paper collection and improve the overall performance of the facility,” said Tracey Thurman, Director of Waste Management. “The changes will also improve how we sort glass, and this will reduce the damage glass breakage does to our equipment.”   

Equipment changes will temporarily shut down the Recycle Center for 13 weeks, starting in December. The city hopes to continue recycling during the shut down by hiring a private contractor to haul, process and market the recyclable material that is currently being processed at the Recycle Center. The interim services will be needed from December 13, 2021, to March 14, 2022. 

The machinery built for Lexington will start to arrive on site in January 2022.

“The recycling industry is in a time of change,” Thurman says. “We are aligning our sorting and processing systems to keep up with industry changes. Recyclables come into the Recycle Center in a single stream, all commingled together. The new equipment and modifications will create a better-designed processing system to sort the recyclables, allowing us to get them to end markets to support jobs in the recycling and manufacturing industries.”  

The city is evaluating whether to keep the yellow bins in operation after curbside recycling resumes. Residents have been invited to use the bins, scattered around the community, to recycle “clean” paper while curbside service for paper has been suspended.

The yellow bins have been an overwhelming success. Since January 2021, Lexington has collected more than 246 tons of “clean” paper from the yellow bins, which is more than 12 semi tractor trailer loads


I will be meeting with neighbors at 544 Lakeshore Drive this Wednesday with representatives from the Division of Water Quality to further discuss the pump station replacement project slated to start in the coming months. My office delivered physical invitations to the surrounding homes, but please feel free to share with your neighbors. The project will have impacts on traffic and there will noise pollution while crews are working. If you live in the affected area, this is a great opportunity to come and have your questions answered. 


Redistricting is the redrawing of congressional and legislative district lines following the census to adjust to how communities grow and change. Every 10 years, local governments use new data from the Census to redraw their district lines to reflect how local populations have changed. The final district map created through this process will determine the council district boundaries for the next 10 years.

Our community's redistricting process is lead by a "Redistricting Commission" comprised of 15 members appointed by Councilmembers. The 5th District is represented by the Lexington Public Library's Development Officer, Anne Donworth. You can learn more about the redistricting process in Lexington by visiting
CivicLex's website.  

You can find all meeting agendas and minutes online. 

Public Comment: The current way to share your thoughts about redistricting is to email Future opportunities for public comment will become available.

From the Kentucky League of Cities 09/17/2021

"The Kentucky Law Enforcement Council (KLEC) testified at Friday’s Interim Joint Committee on Judiciary about proposed regulation changes that will help city police departments struggling to hire officers." Read more here
The City has reached an agreement with our Corrections lieutenants and captains on a four-year collective bargaining contract.

Our corrections managers are a critically important part of our public safety team. They have difficult jobs, made even more difficult by the pandemic. The new contract agreement recognizes and rewards the important contributions they make to our community... it provides annual pay increases of 1.5% every year. Most officers will see a 4.5% pay increase immediately, pending approval by the Urban County Council. 

Although these contract negotiations were delayed by the pandemic, this was a positive, professional process that has resulted in agreement that is good for the corrections lieutenants and captains and the City. This was a productive process and both sides came to the table in a timely fashion to find common ground.

This year’s fall mulch giveaway for Lexington residents will be held on Saturday, September 25.

Yard waste collected by Lexington’s Division of Waste Management during the past several months is now available as mulch. A portion of that material will be available for pick up at 1631 Old Frankfort Pike between 8 a.m. and noon, or until the supply runs out. Please don’t arrive before 8 a.m.

The mulch will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis and is limited to one pickup truck load per person.

Once again, there will be a self-load area for residents picking up smaller amounts of mulch. Due to demand, those who self-load mulch will be limited to a 15-minute loading time. Those self-loading must bring shovels, bags and other supplies. The city is not able to provide tools or bags at the event.

The event is for Fayette County residents only. Bring your driver's license with a Lexington address. 

Enter via Jimmie Campbell Drive, and look for posted signage that will direct you through the event site. For more information, call LexCall 311 at (859) 425-2255.

From the Fayette County Cooperative Extension

"If this is the first you have ever heard about fall armyworms, you aren’t the only one! If you are seeing damage to your lawn and are wondering if this little caterpillar is the culprit, you first need to figure out if he is the guilty one or not. We don't want people treating for them if they aren’t the problem.

Mix 1 tbsp of dish soap with a gallon of water and pour on an afflicted areas to drive the caterpillars to the surface and check. If you do have armyworms, treat with one of the active ingredients listed in the flyer. We do not promote brands, therefore you will have to check the insecticides for what the active ingredient is and find one that contains one of the listed chemicals. You might have the best luck in finding these chemicals at a local farm supply store. As always, be sure to FOLLOW THE LABEL."

Today's update from the Lexington Fayette County Health Department:

Almost 20% of Lexington’s 46,098 total COVID-19 cases have come since Aug. 1.

Through the first 17 days of September, Lexington has reported 3,772 new COVID-19 cases, which already makes it the fifth most in one month. The city reported 5,435 new cases in August.

The city reported 192 new COVID-19 cases Friday, with a 7-day rolling average at 212/day.

Don’t be puzzled over how you can help slow this pandemic: get the shot, wear a mask and practice physical distancing!

Free COVID-19 vaccines are available by same-day appointment every Monday, Wednesday and Friday in our Public Health Clinic at 650 Newtown Pike. Call 859-288-2483 to schedule your appointment. Our Public Health Clinic offers the Moderna and Janssen vaccines for ages 18 and older and the Pfizer vaccine for ages 12 and older.

Both vaccinated and unvaccinated populations can help slow the outbreak by:

  • Wearing a face covering in crowded public areas
  • Avoiding close contact with people who are sick, especially those with COVID-19 symptoms (fever, cough, muscle/body aches, loss of taste/smell, nausea, etc.);
  • Covering coughs and sneezes;
  • Avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth;
  • Washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

If you or someone you know needs rental or utility assistance due to lost income from the COVID-19 crisis, please apply here. Approved applicants will be eligible for 100% of past-due rent, dating back to April of 2020, and up to three months of future payments. These funds are also available to landlords. 

Text of the image reads, "Become a board or commission member."
Joining a board or commission is a great way to have your voices heard on local issues that matter to you. If you're looking for a way to give back and help to shape the direction of Lexington's future, I encourage you to review this list and apply!  You'll find the current list of vacancies for the City's boards and commissions, application deadlines/requirements, and meeting schedules.
Learn more about all current job openings here
5th District Council Office Contact Information:
Councilmember Liz Sheehan, 859-280-8242 (
Legislative Aide Layton Garlington, 859-280-8258 (


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Councilmember Liz Sheehan · 200 E Main St Ofc 520 · Lexington, KY 40507-1310 · USA

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