Direction 2030 adoption prompts terminology changes in zoning ordinances

Adoption of the Direction 2030 comprehensive plan in September marked the beginning of efforts to implement it. Almost immediately, several zoning text modifications needed to be made to each of Kenton County’s 20 zoning ordinances to reflect terminology that changed in the new plan.

Key terms such as ‘urban service area’ and ‘physically restrictive development area’ have been used in Kenton County’s planning documents and zoning ordinances for decades. Direction 2030 established new terminology for these terms following calls from the community to develop new terms more reflective of the policies. Consistent terminology between the comprehensive plan and zoning ordinances is necessary to avoid confusion in administration.

Last month, the Kenton County Planning Commission approved a favorable recommendation on four zoning text amendments that are required to bring the zoning ordinance of each of Kenton County’s 20 jurisdictions into compliance with Direction 2030.

The first relates to physically restrictive development area (PRDA). This terminology was modified to developmentally sensitive area (DSA) in the comprehensive plan. References to PRDA occured mostly in the hillside related regulations and will be referenced as DSA moving forward. The intent behind this policy is to alert developers of land that may be sensitive to development based on the presence of certain geologic characteristics. During the public process, the new term was determined to be more reflective of this intent.

The second modification is related to the term ‘urban service area’. This was modified to include two terms—‘urban/suburban focus area’ and ‘rural focus area’. Again, this is reflective of conversations pursued with the community during the comprehensive plan process.

The changing nature of agricultural operations in the county requires a certain level of service. Infrastructure such as internet and cell service is vital in keeping up with modern technology used in agriculture particularly as it relates to agritourism. The new policy promotes the idea of focusing on the specific needs of each area rather than looking at services for the county as a whole.

The third and fourth requests, while not related to Direction 2030 require changes to be made to all zoning ordinances. NKAPC changed its name to Planning and Development Services of Kenton County (PDS) in July. Every zoning ordinance assigns certain responsibilities to staff and refers to NKAPC. The new name of the agency will now be reflected in ordinances following this change.

The fourth request pertains to clearly assigning the floodplain administrator in each jurisdiction.

“These amendments were anticipated during the final stages of the comprehensive plan process,” said Sharmili Reddy, AICP, PDS’ planning manager. “We’re working with our 20 legislative bodies now to act on these changes fairly soon to avoid any confusion.”