Fiscal Court okays citizen-led zoning amendments for South Kenton

Kenton County Fiscal Court voted unanimously this month to adopt text amendments to the Rural Commercial (RC) zoning district in the county’s zoning ordinance. The changes, which were crafted by a group of rural county residents, address one of the goals in Direction 2030: Your Voice. Your Choice., the countywide comprehensive plan. 

Fiscal court’s action marks the culmination of almost two years of work by the South Kenton County Citizens’ Group to review, analyze, and recommend changes to the Rural Commercial Zone. Goal #5 of the comprehensive plan’s Rural Subarea states, “Rural commercial and industrial development policies need to be tailored to align with the recommended land use map and community preservation, scale, and values.”

As crafted and enacted, these text amendments align the rural commercial regulations to preserve rural character and ensure that any new development reflects the desired scale, character, and form in the community.

“We studied other rural areas to see what communities are doing to preserve rural character,” explained Kathleen Donohoue, chair of the South Kenton Citizens’ Group’s zoning committee. One of the key text changes is a cap on the square footage for retailers serving rural residents. Those include convenience stores, bakeries, and restaurants. Larger buildings are permitted for businesses that support farming operations such as farm equipment stores, feed and seed stores, and lumber yards.

“Our goal is to make the rural commercial areas conducive to small, independent businesses. The rural community is a place for them to thrive without the pressures and competition of larger retailers,” said Donohoue.   

PDS staff and Kenton County Commissioner Beth Sewell assisted the committee in drafting the changes.

“It’s not every day you see a community group stepping up to propose changes to their community’s zoning ordinance,” said Emi Randall, AICP, RLS, Director of Planning & Zoning. “This group took an active role in making changes necessary to fulfill the vision for the community included in Direction 2030. I applaud them for the hard work and dedication it took to get this done.”

Former PDS Principal Planner Edward Dietrich, AICP, and Chris Schneider, AICP, Principal Planner, supported the group by providing research on rural zoning trends, drafting proposed text, and attending monthly meetings of the zoning committee.

Commissioner Sewell provided input and facilitated necessary discussions with other Fiscal Court members. The project is a great example of community members, PDS planners, and Fiscal Court members working together to implement an important element of Direction 2030, according to Sewell.

As enacted, the Rural Commercial (RC) text amendment will impact several small commercial nodes in southern Kenton County. They are located primarily at roadway intersections in Nicholson, Piner, Kenton, Visalia and White’s Tower. Three additional rural commercial zones are located along Dixie Highway near the intersections of York, Green, and Bracht-Piner Roads.

For questions regarding these changes, email Emi Randall or Chris Schneider, or call them at 859.331.8980.