Entries for 'villa hills'

Small area study, cell tower regulations take top state honors

Posted on June 01, 2017

The Kenton County Planning Commission (KCPC) has shown once again that it is a leader in planning in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Two major PDS-managed projects won top honors from the American Planning Association Kentucky Chapter (APA-KY) in its 2017 annual planning awards competition.

Kenton County’s Regulations for Cellular Antenna Towers and Small Cell System Towers earned the Outstanding Project/Program Tool Award and the recently-adopted Villa Hills Study earned state recognition for Outstanding Achievement in a Small Jurisdiction. Both awards reflect the excellent planning efforts that were undertaken in Kenton County in 2016-2017. The two projects represented major parts of the PDS work program accomplished within the last year.

“We’re humbled that our peers selected to recognize these projects,” said Dennis Gordon, FAICP, Executive Director of PDS. “Our efforts are always pursued with others in mind. Whether we’re talking about the planning commission [for the cell tower regulations], the City of Villa Hills and the Benedictine Sisters [for the Villa Hills Study], or those who call Kenton County home. At the end of the day, we work to help combine ideas… to create a vision. These awards really belong to KCPC and Villa Hills.”

In response to rapid changes and growing demand of personal cell services in Kenton County, KCPC facilitated and adopted new cell tower regulations. Adopted in May 2016, these regulations represent the first update to any aspect of the regulations in nearly 15 years.

“While the personal cell service industry has advanced technology over the past 20 years, little has been done locally or statewide to address these changes,” said Andy Videkovich, AICP, PDS’ current planning manager. “KCPC recognized the paradigm shift coming and responded. It was critical to take the lead on this issue.”

The regulations were developed over a six-month period under the guidance of the planning commission. The process included input from Kenton County jurisdictions and industry experts. Through careful planning and involving many stakeholders, the resulting cell tower regulations are meeting the expectations and goals that the planning commission set out to address.

“Several jurisdictions outside of Kenton County have used components of KCPC’s regulations in their efforts,” Videkovich added.

The Villa Hills Study was a 15-month planning process that examined some of the last land within Villa Hills suitable for improvements. The planning process reviewed 240 acres within the predominantly built out community and crafted recommendations for strategic change. The final plan is different because its planning horizon is only few years rather than the several decades traditional plans examine.

The Villa Hills Study is currently moving towards implementation. The Benedictine Sisters of Covington, the major property owner in the study area, closed a request for proposals window for the sale of the property in April 2017. The Sisters are currently working through the proposals to determine the future of the site. PDS staff anticipates working with the new property owner and the city on any necessary zoning amendments in the coming months.

“We look forward to continuing this award-winning standard for all our future efforts. Even if those projects aren’t recognized formally, we see it as our responsibility to provide our communities and residents with the same standard of work,” Gordon concluded.

 



Benedictine Sisters move forward on implementing small area study

Posted on April 04, 2017

The Villa Hills Study, the comprehensive analysis of the last remaining developable land in the city, is now complete. Official adoption of the study incorporates its existing conditions research and recommendations as a part of the Direction 2030 comprehensive plan. This formal step sets the general direction for the area’s future and helps ease the way for any zone changes that might eventually be needed.

The Benedictine Sisters of St. Walburg Monastery, owners of approximately 85 acres of developable land in the study area, issued an open request for proposals (RFP) on March 6, 2017, to find a developer. “Our intent all along has been to stay on our built portion of the land and sell our unused western property to fund our retirement,” said Sister Mary Catherine Wenstrup, Prioress of the monastery. “The planning project was a great help for us to figure out what could happen on the western land and do something that would be a lasting asset for Villa Hills. We are looking forward to getting proposals that follow the plan’s recommendations and to meeting our future neighbors!”

The RFP is open through April 20, 2017. The Benedictine Sisters intend to choose a developer and move forward with the sale of the property soon after that date.

“The study sets the stage for a new kind of development in our area,” said Butch Callery, Mayor of Villa Hills. “We’re excited about the possibility of seeing mixed use here in the city and know that it will make our Villa Hills community even stronger. We hope the future owner is someone interested in building a community and not just another development,” he continued.

The Villa Hills Study was a year-long planning project that crafted recommendations for approximately 240-acres in northwest Villa Hills. The plan was unanimously approved by both the City of Villa Hills on January 18, 2017, and the Kenton County Planning Commission on March 2, 2017. If you are interested in the project or have questions, please contact Craig Bohman at (859) 341-1515 or cbohman@villahillsky.org.


Villa Hills Council adopts study 6-0, sends plan to planning commission

Posted on March 07, 2017
Another step toward the completion of the Villa Hills Study was achieved on January 18, 2017 when the Villa Hills City Council unanimously voted, six to zero, to adopt the plan. The City of Villa Hills, the Benedictine Sisters of Covington, Kentucky, Inc. and PDS have been working for more than a year on the study and it is now nearing its completion.

The Kenton County Planning Commission (KCPC) will now consider adopting the plan as an updated part of the Direction 2030: Your Voice. Your Choice comprehensive plan at their March 2, 2017 meeting. This project is the first small area study undertaken since the adoption of the Direction 2030 comprehensive plan in September 2014.

The task force that guided the study met on January 11, 2017 and approved the plan, which was then presented to the Villa Hills City Council for their consideration.

“It has been a unique and rewarding experience participating with the task force and I am pleased that everyone’s hard work resulted in a unanimous decision by council,” said Craig Bohman, City Administrator/Clerk for Villa Hills.
 
Two weeks prior to the Villa Hills Council meeting, a second public meeting/open house was held at River Ridge Elementary School, which displayed the results from the study. This provided the attendees an opportunity to see an overview of the final plan and give their thoughts on the document. Around 150 people attended the meeting and valuable feedback was obtained from the participants. The first public meeting held in May 2016 attracted nearly 250 participants.

“Turnout at both meetings was outstanding,” said James Fausz, AICP, Long Range Planning Manager at PDS and the Project Manager for the study. “The Villa Hills community definitely is interested in the project and what the future holds for the site.”

The comments and information gathered were used to help guide the decisions of the task force as they finalized the plan. The Villa Hills Study is currently in the approval phases of the project and should be completed in the coming weeks.

If you are interested in learning more about the project and/or getting updates about its progress, visit the city’s website or contact Craig Bohman at 859.331.1515.


Villa Hills task force, staff schedule open house for planning study

Posted on January 03, 2017

The City of Villa Hills, the Benedictine Sisters of Covington, Kentucky, Inc., and PDS are nearing the completion of the Villa Hills Small Area Study after nearly a year’s work. The result of that work will be displayed and explained during an open house on January 4, 2017 from 6:30 until 8:00 p.m.

The meeting will be held in the River Ridge Elementary School cafeteria (2772 Amsterdam Road). City residents may come and go at any time during the 90-minute timeframe.

The group collaborated since early 2016 on a detailed study of land on and around the Saint Walburg Monastery property in Villa Hills. The study culminates in a plan that includes recommendations on mobility, land use, and community facilities for the site. 

A task force overseeing the study held a public meeting at the beginning of summer to learn from the community their ideas and desires for the site. Since that public meeting, the task force has worked towards developing direction for the plan and refining recommendations for the site.

Members of the Task Force also sought the expert advice of regional developers, with the goal of gathering insight and understanding regarding the types of development that would be appropriate for the site. Staff conducted interviews with regional developers and the information gathered through this process was used by the task force to help guide the direction of the final plan.  

“The interviews with regional developers allowed task force members to view the site from a developer’s perspective and get a good grasp on what may be feasible on the site”, said Craig Bohman, City Administrator/Clerk for Villa Hills. Information from the developer interviews, the public meeting, and market study were all used by the task force to help guide the direction of the study.

The task force consists of Villa Hills elected officials, city employees, citizens, Saint Walburg representatives, and Madonna Manor officials. The group worked with PDS from the beginning to provide guidance for the plan and help be a voice for the larger community.

If you are interested in learning more about the project and/or getting updates about its progress, visit the city’s website or contact Bohman at 859.341.1515


Villa Hills encourages new development through small area study

Posted on June 07, 2016

Adoption of Direction 2030, the county’s award-winning comprehensive plan, didn’t end PDS’ efforts to plan for the county’s future; it focused it on new goals and objectives. The current Villa Hills study is an in-depth analysis of the St. Walburg Monastery property in Villa Hills and a case in point. When complete, the small area plan will provide detailed recommendations for this undeveloped portion of the city and amend the comprehensive plan’s recommended land use map.

PDS staff began the planning effort earlier this year on behalf of the Benedictine Sisters of Covington, Kentucky, Inc. and the City of Villa Hills. The sisters, who have been a presence on the same site in Villa Hills for over 110 years, have recently been contemplating their retirement funding.

While they intend to stay on a large part of their property, they are preparing to sell approximately 80 mostly-vacant acres. They decided early in their deliberations to plan for the future rather than just putting a “for sale” sign out on the street; they want to provide a long-lasting contribution to the community.

“We have a great opportunity right now to do something special for the city and its residents,” explained Sr. Mary Catherine Wenstrup, Prioress of St. Walburg Monastery. “While selling a portion of our property is going to fund our retirement, we want to do so in a way that is beneficial to the city and our neighbors. After all, we’re staying here so whatever happens to the west of us impacts our lives as well.”

PDS staff began in January to research existing conditions on the site and manage the overall study. At the same time, efforts began with two additional studies to research specific aspects of the site. A market consultant was selected to look at the site’s potential for various types of land uses and determine which had the most potential for success in the community.

Likewise, a transportation study was initiated to examine existing conditions of the community’s roadways and plan for potential upgrades that might be needed.

A public meeting was held recently to inform the public of the research conducted to date and converse with attendees regarding their concerns and ideas for the future of the site. The meeting, held on May 9th at River Ridge Elementary School, was attended by approximately 250 people that wanted to learn more about the study.

“We had a great turnout for the meeting,” commented James Fausz, AICP, a PDS senior planner and project manager for the study. “In all my years with PDS we’ve never had the kind of attendance we received for this meeting. We’re very fortunate that so many people care about what’s going on in their community and came out to learn and provide input.”

Currently, staff is working to sort through hundreds of responses provided during the meeting. Those will then be taken to the task force overseeing the project for its consideration as the study moves forward into the recommendations phase. A second public meeting is anticipated later this summer to provide details about the plan’s recommendations.

If you are interested in learning more about the project and getting updates about its progress, visit the project’s website or the city’s website.


Enlarged joint code enforcement board ok’d, is ready to hear cases

Posted on August 15, 2014

A new interlocal agreement for Kenton County’s Joint Code Enforcement Board has been signed by all parties and approved by state authorities, enabling the board to start hearing code enforcement cases from the two newest cities to join the board, Villa Hills and Park Hills.

Since enabling legislation was passed in 1996 by the Kentucky General Assembly, most jurisdictions in Kenton County have formed code enforcement boards to help strengthen their municipal codes and keep zoning enforcement issues out of the courts. Kenton Fiscal Court and six of the county’s cities formed the joint code enforcement board in 2006.

In late 2013, the cities of Villa Hills and Park Hills decided to disband their own code enforcement boards in favor of joining the joint code enforcement board. Their decisions to do so hinged largely on the facts that the cooperative effort costs each city much less money and means that each city only has to make one appointment to the board, rather than finding three or five volunteers for their own board.

Historically, many of the cities have found it difficult to find volunteers to keep their own code enforcement boards fully operational. This can result in code violation cases being delayed for several months or even dismissed altogether.

The interlocal agreement that was signed in 2006 forming the joint code enforcement board limited the number of participating jurisdictions to seven, which was the number of communities that chose to participate at the time. The new agreement was drafted to allow additional cities to join without requiring an entirely new contract. Now that all of the cities currently wishing to participate have signed this agreement, the addition of new cities to the board can be seamless.

Current participating member jurisdictions:

City of Crescent Springs
City of Crestview Hills
City of Fort Wright
Kenton County
City of Kenton Vale
City of Park Hills
City of Ryland Heights
City of Taylor Mill
City of Villa Hills


Villa Hills readies for new development

Posted on April 11, 2014
The first new subdivision in Villa Hills in a decade was approved for construction in April 2012. Named Stillbrooke, the subdivision encompasses nine acres along the east side of Collins Road, approximately 1,700 feet north of Buttermilk Pike. Residents could be moving into their new homes there before Christmas.

The development includes 26 single-family lots and three small areas set aside for park space. Click here to view this preliminary plat.

Construction of the proposed infrastructure continued relatively steadily after subdivision approval throughout 2012 and 2013 and included just over 1,000 feet of new public street and associated public utilities such as water main, fire hydrants, and sanitary and storm sewers.

A unique feature of this subdivision involves sidewalks. In conjunction with support from the city, the developer proposed providing sidewalk along just one side of the new street. Normally sidewalk is required along both sides of all new streets. In exchange the proposal included the commitment to fill in a gap in the sidewalk network along Collins Road.

Subdivision regulations already required new sidewalk to be provided along the portion of the subdivision that fronted Collins Road, which totaled about 500 feet. But from that point, heading toward Buttermilk Pike, there was a gap in the sidewalk network for another 500 feet.

“It was important to the city that this gap in the sidewalk get completed”, said Scott Hiles, CPC, NKAPC’s director of infrastructure engineering. “So with the city’s support, the developer obtained a waiver from the Kenton County Planning Commission that allowed him to put sidewalks on one side of the new internal street in exchange for filling this sidewalk gap”.

When this gap is filled, residents will be able walk to nearby amenities such as the community park at the corner of Collins Road and Buttermilk Pike, and shopping and restaurant accommodations as well. Discussion with the developer has recently resolved that this sidewalk gap will be constructed sometime this year.

The recordable plat that will create the 26 lots is pending approval from staff. This approval is required before lots can be transferred to new owners. A few outstanding items have yet to be completed but it appears that the plat will be able to be approved soon. Staff understands that once that approval occurs, builders will be ready to obtain the necessary permits to break ground and begin construction.

Ludlow, Villa Hills disband their boards of adjustment

Posted on February 04, 2014
Looking for ways to reduce administrative costs and to provide funds for other city programs, elected officials in the Cities of Ludlow and Villa Hills decided recently to dissolve their respective boards of adjustment, transferring that authority to the Kenton County Board of Adjustment and the costs to NKAPC’s One Stop Shop codes administration program.

Boards of adjustment have authority to make case-by-case zoning decisions on requests by property owners. Like planning commission members, board of adjustment members are citizens appointed by their local government city; they are not professional planners.

The primary duties of boards of adjustment include hearing requests to vary from dimensional regulations of the local zoning code, hearing administrative appeals from zoning enforcement and interpretation decisions, hearing conditional use requests, and hearing requests to change from one nonconforming use to another.

Ludlow and Villa Hills have each had their own board of adjustment for many years which carries the costs of staff time, legal fees, notification costs, and payments to their board members. This has proven to be expensive, as city budgets have gotten tighter. City officials have also been challenged by having to find (and retain) the required number of members in order to make legal decisions.

The Kentucky Revised Statutes require jurisdictions that pursue planning and zoning to have a functioning board of adjustment. The 1966 agreement that created the Kenton County Planning Commission stipulates that if a city does not have its own board of adjustment, then the county board will fulfill that role for the city. The cost that would have been incurred by a city for this duty essentially disappears at that point, since additional territory does not increase costs to the county board of adjustment which are borne by the One Stop Shop program.

More information on the process of disbanding a board of adjustment can be provided by NKAPC planning and zoning director Martin Scribner, AICP.