Home additions frozen: Council to require permit for expansions

By Laura Clark

Homeowners looking to expand floorspace may find a new obstacle in their path.

On Tuesday, the Urban County Council voted to  place a six-month moratorium on large home additions upon the 3rd District of Lexington, which includes UK.

The district’s councilwoman, Diane Lawless, said the freeze on permits to make certain additions to houses has nothing to do with student housing.

“It’s not an anti-student issue,” Lawless said. “It’s a green, livable, sustainable community issue.”

Lawless, who introduced the resolution, said the moratorium was presented to stop landlords from adding additions to certain houses in older neighborhoods. Lawless said the residents’ identities— students or non-students — is irrelevant.

“It’s about people getting around the zoning ordinances for a single-family dwelling,” Lawless said. “Folks are finding loopholes to build these additions.”

Lawless said houses with a large addition to them encounter problems with sewage, garbage and storm water drainage.

The council still requires a first and second read in order to pass the proposal. Lawless said the moratorium will be enforced when someone applies for a building permit. If the addition is over 25 percent of the original structure, Lawless said the building owner can apply their councilperson for a variance.

Jimmy Stanton, UK spokesman, said university representatives will attend the Council Planning Committee on Oct. 20.

“We have been engaged in these issues for many years,” Stanton said in an e-mail to the Kernel. “We are committed to continuing to work with the city and the neighborhoods to develop solutions that work for everyone.”

Lawless said she wants to see UK get more involved, but she stressed the moratorium’s focus.

“I would like to see UK come to the table and help come up with solutions for students,” Lawless said. “But again, the moratorium is not about students.”