Independence ok’s new zoning district

After a nearly two and a half year process, the final proposed new zoning district recommended by a small area study was adopted by the Independence City Council recently. This final district allows for types of development that were not previously anticipated by the city’s zoning code. It was heard at a public hearing before the Kenton County Planning Commission on October 4th and subsequently sent to the city council for action.

This city action is the culmination of work by a steering committee of citizens appointed in late 2009. The charge presented to the group by Independence City Council was to implement recommendations of the Independence Community Small Area Study, adopted by the city and the Kenton County Planning Commission in 2007.

The appointed steering committee met monthly to review current zoning requirements, small area study recommendations, and zoning alternatives. The members’ geographic focus was for areas around downtown Independence, McCullum Pike, and the intersection of McCullum Pike with new KY 17.

The newly-adopted district is designated the Gateway Mixed Use Zone (GMU), which permits mixed-use developments with an emphasis on aesthetics and connectivity. This district illustrates trends in current development markets that are relatively new in this part of the country.

The GMU Zone focuses on the city’s desire to create a new gateway into Independence, one that will not compete with the southern gateway commercial area and the historic downtown.

Some citizens voiced apprehension about the new zoning districts before the final vote. In the end, however, city officials responded to public sentiment heard during the small area study process.

Before any recommendations were made, months were spent focused on educating the committee and making sure everyone was on the same page.

While not all committee members were in agreement on every provision of the new district, consensus was achieved on all major issues. The committee also made several alterations based on input received from the public. One of these was the decision to increase the size of the minimum development area and to extend the boundary to the west to include more land.