House Bill 138 - Update

Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin signed House Bill 138 Tuesday enacting provisions approved earlier by the General Assembly. The bill, proposed by PDS of Kenton County and sponsored by Rep. Adam Koenig of Erlanger, authorizes local communities to band together to create joint boards of adjustment that will be made up of an appointee from each jurisdiction. The new law takes effect July 1.

“The catalyst for this bill came from our local officials,” said Dennis Gordon, FAICP, executive director at PDS. “Many of our local officials are finding it more and more difficult to justify the cost of standalone boards that might meet a couple times a year. They’re also finding fewer and fewer people who are willing to give up time with family to sit on a public board.”

Collaborative boards with neighboring communities solve both problems. PDS suggested a similar bill several years ago involving code enforcement boards. There were 14 code enforcement boards in Kenton County at the time. Today there are four, one being a joint board serving Kenton County and 13 cities.

“I believe every community has found this to be a win-win collaboration,” stated Gordon. “The increased workload of a joint board necessitates monthly meetings which in turn facilitates members becoming more familiar with their responsibilities. Better-informed members tend to make more legally-defensible decisions which results in lower liability and costs for municipal budgets.”

Gordon reports that Kenton County has 13 boards of adjustment currently. He concludes with the hope that that number will dwindle as mayors become more comfortable with the concept and the ability to appoint their own members and save dollars.