Entries for 2014

Senior staffer’s service nets President’s Award at annual KAMP conference

Posted on November 06, 2014

During the Kentucky Association of Mapping Professionals’ (KAMP) annual conference in Louisville in September, PDS Senior GIS Specialist Tom East, GISP, was awarded KAMP’s first ever President’s Award.

According to the KAMP website, “This award is not presented yearly but at the discretion of the current President. This award recognizes extraordinary service to the KAMP Executive Board and members.”

East has served as the treasurer for KAMP since 2012 and has initiated several efforts improving the record management, membership management, and financial management of the organization. KAMP is an organization of almost 400 professionals involved in the mapping sciences, with the stated purpose of fostering understanding and improved management and use of geospatial information throughout the Commonwealth. It also seeks to provide a mechanism for dialogue and education regarding geospatial information issues by professionals.

Along with East, other PDS staff members also participated in the conference. Senior GIS Programmer/Specialist Christy Powell, GISP, led a workshop on mobile data collection for GIS and, along with Principal GIS Programmer/Specialist Joe Busemeyer, GISP, and Principal Planner James Fausz, AICP, made a presentation about the creation of the new, all-digital, Direction 2030 comprehensive plan website.

Trisha Brush, GISP, Director of GIS Administration presented a session on the marketing of GIS services through social media. East also presented an informational session on Next Generation 9-1-1 and the essential role GIS will play in its operation.

Building department recertified to pursue state-level building projects

Posted on November 06, 2014

PDS has once again demonstrated to Kentucky’s Department of Housing, Buildings and Construction (DHBC) that it maintains the certification and knowledge to handle larger projects within Kenton County. The agency was granted its renewal recently for the expanded jurisdiction program for all of Kenton County absent Erlanger that has its own program.

To gain expanded jurisdiction, local building departments must demonstrate that they have the manpower, certification, and knowledge to handle larger construction projects. These projects are those with an occupant load of at least 100 or more persons. Office buildings of 10,000 square feet, industrial buildings larger than 20,000 square feet, and residential buildings larger than 20,000 square feet or three stories are some examples of buildings that fall under this criterion.

“I’m proud to acknowledge once again that our building inspection team has earned Frankfort’s trust,” said Dennis Gordon, FAICP, PDS’ executive director. “Our office personnel and field inspectors work hard to justify this trust. They also work closely with building contractors to help them achieve their goals within the parameters set by the state building code.”

PDS first acquired expanded jurisdiction from the state in 1998 and has renewed it every three years since through an audit process. The resulting contract gives DHBC control over how the program is run and the ability to terminate the program if the local department fails to live up to state standards.

DHBC personnel visit the local jurisdictions after the application process and verify in the field that all parameters of KRS 198B.060(5) are met. Once the Department is satisfied that the local jurisdiction is maintaining proper procedures and meeting state standards, it makes sure all local ordinances and agreements are in place lawfully and then signs the contract for the next three years.

With PDS performing these larger projects locally, dollars spent on permits are kept locally and not returned back to Frankfort for dispersion throughout the commonwealth. It also allows for projects to occur quicker. Typically, inspections are provided with 24 hours’ notice and plans are reviewed in seven to eight business days if not sooner where it can be up to a month or more for a plan review at DHBC.

GIS department provides HBA information on available subdivision lots

Posted on November 06, 2014

The PDS GIS department worked closely recently with the Homebuilders Association of Northern Kentucky (HBA) on a project to determine the number of “finished” subdivided lots in Kenton County.

Finished lots are vacant lots ready to be sold but without an existing structure.

Additional lot definitions utilized in this project fell under several categories: lots with water and sewer access, lots with just water access, lots with only sewer access, and lots without access to either utility. The analysis also took into consideration the zoning of the property; residential, commercial or industrial.

“This analysis is exactly the type that GIS is built to report,” commented Trisha Brush, GISP, Director of GIS at PDS. “We were happy to share these data with the HBA, and look forward to serving the association in the future as needs arise.”

Due to the scale of the project, the PDS team delivered the analyzed data in three maps. The maps were broken down as Urban (the Ohio River to I-275), suburban (I-275 to KY536), and rural (KY536 to the southern Kenton County boundary).

Staff’s goal in moving forward is to have these data and more available on the fly or on an as needed basis. There have been some discussions of building a website just for HBA’s needs with a secure login, but for now that is purely conceptual.

Independence becomes 17th participant in One Stop Shop program

Posted on November 06, 2014

Independence City Council and Planning and Development Services of Kenton County entered into an interlocal agreement recently that delegates the city’s zoning ordinance and property maintenance code administration to PDS; the agreement becomes effective on Monday, November 3rd. Independence is the 17th Kenton County jurisdiction (out of 20) to be part of PDS’ collaborative One Stop Shop program.

The program is built on PDS’ “critical mass” of professionals, providing economies of scale that are impossible for local jurisdictions to match and levels of service the local jurisdictions can’t afford.

The city is also opting to disband its own board of adjustment and code enforcement board in favor of participation in the Kenton County joint board of adjustment and Kenton County joint code enforcement board. These moves are expected to save the city even more public funds.

“We’re pleased to welcome Independence to the program,” said Dennis Gordon, FAICP, executive director. “Mayor Donna Yeager and City Administrator Chris Moriconi have talked with us over the past several weeks about the city’s priorities; we understand them clearly and intend to hit the ground running.”

Filing code enforcement complaints, seeking information about subsequent inspections, and searching for a property’s zoning classification is now one phone call away for Independence residents. PDS can be reached at 331.8980 between 8 and 5 Monday through Friday. A PDS code enforcement official will also be available part-time on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday in the city building for anyone from Independence and southern Kenton County who needs assistance.

Information in this regard is also available on the PDS website and the new One Stop Shop website.

“The One Stop Shop program has helped a number of cities increase service levels for their citizens and reduce costs since 2004. We’re looking forward to providing those benefits to Independence and its citizens,” concluded Gordon.

Direction 2030 plan adopted 19-0; effort begins to implement it

Posted on November 06, 2014

After 40 years of amendments to its 1972 edition, Kenton County has a brand new comprehensive plan. The Kenton County Planning Commission unanimously approved the new plan titled Direction 2030: Your Voice, Your Choice on September 4. The new plan was created after seven public meetings and over 110 small group meetings over a period of two years.

Direction 2030
is based on a new statement of goals and objectives and is the first web-based plan in the metro region. Adoption of the plan not only paves the way for newer considerations to be taken into account during the development process, it also encourages greater community conversation within each of the plan’s four designated subareas - urban, first-ring, suburban, and rural.

Direction 2030 includes recommendations that take into consideration the demographic shifts that are happening, the comments we heard from residents, and the processes we need to look at with a fresh perspective,” said Martin Scribner, AICP, Director of Planning and Zoning at PDS. “Now that the plan is adopted, we’re gearing up to focus our efforts on implementation.”

Two primary projects under consideration include implementation by subarea and evaluating zoning changes needed to bring regulations into compliance with the new comprehensive plan.

The subarea process was built into Direction 2030 based on the recognition that each area of the county has unique needs. The focus in the urban area will be to strengthen the vitality of the urban core through historic preservation, infill development on vacant and underutilized properties, and to build upon the strong sense of neighborhood and community.

The goal in the rural area will be to preserve and enhance the viability of the rural heritage, to encourage the preservation of the rural character, and to remove barriers to support local agricultural operations.

“Our subarea processes will be action-oriented within each of the four areas. This effort will allow us to work with residents, cities, and other partners to prioritize the recommendations made in Direction 2030 and focus on implementation.” said Sharmili Reddy, AICP, Planning Manager at PDS.

Direction 2030
also revamped several land use related policies based on community needs. Implementation of these policies will require a re-evaluation of Kenton County’s many zoning ordinances. Land use categories such as mixed use were introduced for the first time in the comprehensive plan to promote the mixture of uses and recognize the flexibility needed to react to market conditions. Each of the 20 cities within Kenton County has their own zoning code which will need to be evaluated for compliance with Direction 2030.

Both projects – subarea implementation and zoning code evaluation, are slated to begin next month.

Senior Building Official Elected to ICC Board of Directors

Posted on October 13, 2014
Kenton County Senior Building Official Jeff Bechtold was elected to the International Code Council (ICC) Board of Directors during the association’s recent 2014 Annual Conference. The Code Council develops codes and standards that states and local jurisdictions use in the construction of safe homes and buildings to create strong communities. The ICC Code is the basis for the Kentucky Building Code which is mandatory for all jurisdictions across the commonwealth.

“Those who serve as volunteers on the Code Council Board of Directors are leaders in the profession who devote their time, energy, and expertise to ensure public safety in the built environment,” said ICC Chief Executive Officer Dominic Sims. “We thank them for their leadership, and we thank their local jurisdictions for supporting their service.”

As Senior Building Official, Bechtold pursues both plans examinations and field inspections in all phases of construction except for plumbing and electrical in Kenton County. He is one of five building officials employed by Planning and Development Services of Kenton County (PDS), the public agency that provides building, zoning, and property maintenance services for 17 of Kenton County’s 20 local governments.

Bechtold was appointed to a two-year term by the governor to the Single-Family Dwelling Advisory Committee for Kentucky’s Department of Housing, Buildings and Construction. He was a volunteer firefighter serving the cities of Erlanger and Elsmere. Active in code development, he also has served on the ICC’s Means of Egress Code Change Committee.

“We’re very proud of Jeff’s election to this position,” said Dennis Gordon, PDS executive director. “We work hard to find and keep the best professional staff possible to serve the people of Kenton County. Jeff’s election is indicative of the professionalism and service mindedness that our staff possesses.”

The International Code Council is a member-focused association. It is dedicated to developing model codes and standards used in the design, build and compliance process to construct safe, sustainable, affordable and resilient structures. Most U.S. communities and many global markets choose the International Codes.

Kenton County comprehensive plan has been approved

Posted on September 08, 2014

The Kenton County Planning Commission last week did what none of its predecessors had done since 1972. It adopted a totally new comprehensive plan complete with a new statement of goals and objectives. Called Direction 2030: Your Voice Your Choice, the plan can be accessed here.

In addition to being totally new in content, Direction 2030 is being presented in a totally new format. 

"It is not a printed document," said Dennis Gordon, FAICP, executive director of Planning and Development Services of Kenton County (PDS). PDS is staff to the Kenton County Planning Commission.

"It’s an interactive, web-based site. Everything you want to know about the process, the goals and objectives established early on in the process and then the structure built on top of those goals, it's all there. It's a pretty robust site."

The website also includes interactive land use maps which let the user find answers to questions on a site-specific level. 

Gordon said printed copies of a comprehensive plan could cost as high as $200 each. Instead, the technology-based version will be accessible to citizens and potential developers looking to familiarize themselves with the county's planning goals and objectives.

A new look along I-71/75

Posted on August 29, 2014
Planning and Development Services of Kenton County (PDS) changed the face of its high-rise expressway sign today. The agency pursued the name change to bring clarity to its mission of serving Kenton County’s 20 local governments—a city-county planning department if you will.

As a governmental entity, PDS doesn’t need a sign of this size and visibility. The reason for it comes down to equity and the value the sign adds to the publicly-owned property.

“It was important that PDS maintain the existing sign to provide value on the property owned by our organization,” said Crestview Hills Mayor Paul Meier, vice chairman of the PDS Management Board. “If the sign was not changed, it would have had to be removed, therefore lowering any future resale value of our property.”

Losing the sign would have devalued the property by at least $100,000 according to local real estate brokers.

Request for Proposals

Posted on August 21, 2014

Planning and Development Services of Kenton County (PDS) seeks proposals for the repair and resurfacing of their parking lot utilizing four different specifications. Project specifications are available via the links below or in the PDS office; 2332 Royal Drive, Ft Mitchell, KY 41017; 859.331.8980.

Signed and printed proposals are due in the PDS office at 3:00 PM EDT, September 10, 2014. PDS reserves the right to reject any and all proposals, waive informalities, and negotiate with the apparent “qualified and best” firm to such extent as may be in its best interests.

PDS Parking Lot Repair and Sealcoat Specifications
PDS Parking Lot Resurfacing Specifications 1
PDS Parking Lot Resurfacing Specifications 2
PDS Parking Lot Resurfacing Specifications 3

Council approves FY15 budget and work program; changes its name

Posted on August 15, 2014
The Northern Kentucky Area Planning Council fulfilled one of its primary statutory responsibilities in late June when it considered and then approved the organization’s budget and proposed tax rate for Fiscal Year 2015. The group of elected officials representing each of Kenton County’s 20 local jurisdictions concluded the evening by changing its name and approving a number of steps recommended earlier by the PDS Management Board (formerly the area planning commission).

Among the many facts about the proposed budget illustrated for elected officials was the FY15 bottom line. “This new fiscal year budget approximates the bottom line of our Fiscal Year 2006 budget,” said Dennis Gordon, FAICP, PDS executive director. “It also represents an approximation with the bottom line of our FY14 budget—the one that just ended in June.”

Because of growth since last year in the county’s real property values, Gordon asserts this bottom line will lead to a less-than-compensating rate for PDS on this fall’s Kenton County tax bills. Compensating rates produce the same amount of revenue as the preceding year’s rate.

In other action taken by the Council, members followed suit on action taken in May by the area planning commission which changed its name and those of its operations to Planning and Development Services of Kenton County. The Council approved a resolution which among other things changes its name to the PDS (Planning and Development Services) Council. Both name changes were part of a comprehensive effort aimed at clarity.

A communications assessment conducted in 2011 found that the number one problem people had with NKAPC was confusion about the services it provided and how they differed from those provided by the Kenton County Planning Commission. The other reason for the change was to reflect the true mission of the agency as a service provider on behalf of the county’s 20 local governments—a city-county planning department, if you will—and the county-wide planning commission created by those jurisdictions nearly 50 years ago.

PDS is overseen by a group of seven individuals who meet regularly to assure that direction provided by the community’s elected officials is being followed. The organization’s budget and the tax rate that funds a majority of it are reviewed and approved annually by these elected officials as required by law.

PDS provides professional staff support to the Kenton County Planning Commission. It also supports a majority of the county’s 20 local jurisdictions as their planning, engineering, and building staff. And, it serves as managing partner and provides the central hub and staffing for the multi-county LINK-GIS partnerships.

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