Final version of county subdivision regulations is near completion

The Kenton County Planning Commission is entering the home stretch as its members begin deliberation on draft subdivision regulations. This marks the near culmination of a several-year effort led by the NKAPC staff to create an updated set of regulations that are more efficient, provide more options for creative design, and strengthen standards to protect the taxpayer from unnecessary expenses.

Since the draft was published for public review in the fall of 2010, planning commission members have been busy on several fronts. Their first effort was to establish a committee and begin a series of informational meetings with staff to learn about the differences between the existing and proposed regulations. “Staff handles most of the administration of the existing regulations,” said Scott Hiles, Deputy Director for Infrastructure Engineering. “It was important to educate the committee on the reason we have subdivision regulations and what they were required by law to contain.” The committee met throughout the early spring and summer to accomplish this goal.

The committee then decided to invite all of the major stakeholders in the community that would be affected by the proposed regulations to address them during face-to-face meetings. “It was very important to me to see that everyone that would be affected by the regulations would be heard by this committee,” said Paul Darpel, Chairman of the Kenton County Planning Commission. “We may not always agree to include all the ideas that we hear, but I wanted these groups to know that they were heard, their ideas were carefully considered and based on their input we were able to make an informed decision.”

Several groups have taken advantage of this opportunity. Because of their shared interest in storm water runoff and water quality issues, the Kenton County Conservation District teamed up with the Banklick Watershed Council and the Sanitation District to present their ideas to the committee in January. They were followed by the Home Builders Association in early February and the Kenton County Mayors’ Group later that same month. One group remains to meet with the committee, the Northern Kentucky Society of Professional Engineers which is scheduled to present to the committee on April 24.

In the interim, the committee has instructed staff to begin the process of revising the document to include those issues where consensus has been reached between all groups. In May, the committee will begin the final deliberation to decide what changes need to be made to the draft.

The one issue that has received the most debate thus far is whether or not the new standards for subdivision streets should be strengthened, and if so, to what degree. “It seems most everyone agrees that streets are failing before their expected design life,” said Hiles. “But little consensus between the groups has been reached as to the cause of this premature failure, or what should be done about it.”

That will ultimately be a decision the planning commission must make. After staff revises the draft for the final time it will be published again for public review. KCPC members will then take action on the issue at a public hearing which has yet to be scheduled.