Article Title

Not in Accordance with a Comprehensive Plan: A Case Study of Regional Shopping Center Location Conflicts in Lexington, Kentucky

Publication Title

Urban Law Annual


This article has a subsidiary, yet inseparable purpose, studying the extent to which adopted plans control the administration of land use regulations. The value premises incorporated into the plan must be examined in light of the permissible uses of zoning. The plan attempted to time the entry of regional shopping centers into the community to protect existing merchants. This is an example of zoning for the general welfare in the broadest sense of the term, for it was defined as the exclusion of competition to protect the economic welfare of the city. Courts have jettisoned the nuisance rationale of zoning and sanctioned a wide variety of planning techniques designed to further the general welfare. However, they have generally failed to articulate new criteria to define the permissible uses of zoning and thus have encouraged its use for a number of doubtful purposes. One hope for defining the general welfare with greater precision lies in the use of adopted plans as a standard to review legislative action. However, the decisions taken by the Lexington-Fayette County Planning Commission indicate that adopted plans may fail to rationalize the decision- making process unless courts take an active role in institutionalizing reliance on them. This can be done by defining with greater precision the scope of the zoning power, by confining planning studies to an examination of relevant concerns and by using the plans as a new standard of judicial review.