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A committee redrawing Lexington’s 12 council districts wants feedback from the community after making tweaks to a proposed redistricting map.
The original proposal included changes to 47 precincts, meaning just shy of 50,000 people would be moved to a new council district.
Some of the biggest changes were in District 3, which includes a large section of downtown and areas around the University of Kentucky. District 10, which includes the Beaumont area, also saw substantial changes to district boundaries.
District 4 would also see multiple precincts from south of the University of Kentucky Arboretum that includes neighborhoods as Glendover, Southern Heights and Lansdowne move to District 3.
During a Wednesday meeting of the redistricting committee, several members of the Pensacola Park neighborhood, whose Goodrich precinct was moved from District 3 to District 10, spoke against the proposed change. More than 50 people had also emailed the redistricting committee protesting the precinct change to District 10.
The nonpartisan committee, which is made up of representatives appointed by the 15 council members, has been working on redrawing the lines for several months. Redrawing council election districts is required every 10 years if there are substantial changes in population. There was substantial growth on the city’s southeast side and population losses in districts 9, 10 and 11.
Jesse Voigt, who lives in Pensacola Park, said the neighborhood is more in line with downtown neighborhoods, not the largely suburban area that includes much of District 10 and asked that Goodrich remain in District 3.
“We are a historic neighborhood,” Voigt said. “We have a lot of students and professors from (the University of Kentucky).”
Several committee members said they were not opposed to putting Goodrich back into District 3 but that means District 10 still needed more people.
The council districts have to be within 5 percent of the optimal district population of 26,881 people.
“It’s like a Rubik’s Cube,” said Don Todd, a committee member. Each time a council district gains or loses a precinct, adjustments have to be made to other districts to remain within the 5 percent.
The committee ultimately decided to put Goodrich back in Council District 3.
Another key change to the proposed redistricting map is putting Levi Todd precinct, in the far southeast corner of the county, back into District 7. Under the proposed redrawing, Levi Todd would be moved to District 12, which largely represents the rural area outside the urban service boundary. Several people expressed concern about moving Levi Todd out of District 7.
But if Levi Todd remains in District 7, then the committee suggested moving the Fiddler Creek precinct, which is currently in District 8, into District 12.
Don Todd, who is the committee representative for District 12, said at one point Fiddler Creek was in District 12.
The committee agreed to release three maps to get more public feedback. The first map is the original proposed map that includes moving Goodrich and Levi Todd. The second map includes the above changes to Goodrich, Levi Todd and Fiddler Creek and proposes moving the Leawood precinct from District 4 to District 10.
The third map also includes the changes to Levi Tood, Goodrich and Fiddler Creek and proposes moving the Malabu precinct from District 4 to District 5.
Bill Wilson, the chair of the redistricting committee, asked the community for feedback on those proposals before its next meeting on Oct. 27.
On Oct. 27, the committee hopes to make final changes to its proposed redistricting map.
The map will then go to the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Council for final approval. Wilson said the council can still make tweaks to the proposed map before approving it.
The city is trying to finalize the council district boundaries by Nov. 3, which is the first day candidates can file to run in the 12 council races and for the three at-large seats. However, the city charter says the maps do not have to be finalized until April 2022.
To redraw the maps, the committee followed these guidelines as set forth by city ordinance.
The council districts should have population equality, with each district not having a deviation of more than 10 percent from other council districts.
Existing voting precincts cannot be split.
Each district shall be composed of closely arranged precincts that are concentrated in a limited area.
Each district shall be composed of adjoining precincts sharing common boundaries.
The precinct population shall be based upon the 2020 Census redistricting data.
The districts should reflect particular community interests or a range of characteristics, including aggregating areas with similar physical, cultural, or socioeconomic characteristics.
The districts should accommodate relative rates of future growth such that districts in growth areas will have a population in the lower range of the ideal population.
New districts should be formed with as little change as possible to existing districts.
Keeping the council members in their current districts should be a priority.
If possible, recognized neighborhood associations should not be split into different council districts.
Arterial highways and other corridors that have been used as boundaries should be considered in defining district boundaries.
The public can offer feedback via email@example.com. Residents can plug in their address in a map at www.lexingtonky.gov/redistricting-lexington to see if they would be moved to a different council district.
To find out more about the redistricting process, go to www.lexingtonky.gov/redistricting-lexington. Residents can verify the name of their current voting precinct at https://fayettecountyclerk.com/web/elections/votingLocations.htm.
CivicLex, a nonprofit whose mission is to up civic involvement, is also sponsoring other events regarding redistricting. To find out more, go to www.civiclex.org/redistricting.