Senior GIS specialist speaks at KACo regarding NextGen 9-1-1

Posted on December 17, 2013
How does Next Generation 9-1-1 differ from our current Enhanced 9-1-1? Why do we need to understand the difference? These questions are what NKAPC staff member Tom East was asked to explain to the 39th Annual Kentucky Association of Counties (KACo) Conference held last month at the Galt House in Louisville.

East, a senior GIS specialist, was invited to present to because of his GIS experience, his history of developing address point databases and road centerline layers for LINK-GIS partner organizations, and his understanding of the steps necessary to prepare for the transition to the new technology.

“Explosive growth of cell phone usage and the concurrent decline in land lines is driving this change,” said East. “Enhanced 9-1-1 was designed to work with land lines and callers with fixed locations. The cell phone has completely changed the rules of the game. Add to that the additional capabilities of smartphones—texting, messaging, cameras, video and internet connectivity—and the limits of Enhanced 9-1-1 are quickly exposed. Younger generations in particular expect dispatchers to be able to use these new technologies.”

East continues, “The decline in land lines is reducing the funding stream for dispatch centers, while county and city general funds have been pressured for several years by the state of the economy. All these factors have come together, feeding the ‘perfect storm’ that is driving the change.”

East explained to the attendees that Next Generation 9-1-1 has been designed to handle the new technologies and capabilities while also solving some of the problems Enhanced 9-1-1 cannot.

“Next Generation 9-1-1 is designed with GIS, or computerized maps, at its core. It won’t function without this map which must include roads, dispatch service areas, cell tower locations and address databases. Fortunately, a great deal of this information is already available, but the electronic infrastructure required still needs to be developed and built, along with a solution for the funding issues.”

East participates in a National Emergency Numbering Association (NENA) work group developing recommendations for the creation of address point databases to be used in emergency dispatch systems. Last month he co-chaired the national “Locating the Future” Conference, sponsored by the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA) and NENA in St. Louis.

Staffer recognized for service to the Kentucky GIS community

Posted on December 04, 2013
The Kentucky Association of Mapping Professionals (KAMP) presents three awards during the annual Kentucky GIS Conference: Exemplary System, Service to KAMP, and Service to the GIS/Mapping Community.

In 2013 the Service to GIS/Mapping Community award was presented to Christy Powell GISP, Senior GIS Programmer at NKAPC. In the peer-submitted nomination it was noted that Powell had performed tremendous service to KAMP’s community-of-practice.

Powell helped review the various iterations of these documents resulting in better and streamlined KAMP governance – positively affecting KAMP’s functionality in serving its community. Most importantly, she has consistently and diligently maintained and improved the public-facing aspect of KAMP. Christy has responded and affected every change requested over the years; this being particularly true during hectic times.

Powell has been in KAMP since its inception in 2003 and was presented the Service to KAMP award in 2006. She has served as a member of two KAMP committees and was the President of KAMP for 2009-2010. Her goal is to continue improving the LINK-GIS system to win the final KAMP award, Exemplary System.

New sirens- A welcome sound to a scarred landscape

Posted on December 04, 2013
On October 23, 2013 in southwestern Kenton County, a siren could be heard echoing over the rolling hills of Kentucky for the first time. The Rotary Club, city officials, representatives from Duke and Owen Electric, Homeland Security, Piner Fire and Police departments, and representatives from the NKAPC were gathered on a Carlisle Road hillside for the new siren dedication.    
Not all of the 34 sirens in Kenton County have a plaque, nor was there a special ceremony for them. However, this siren is important because it was needed on March 2, 2012, when an F4 tornado ripped across the Northern Kentucky area destroying 213 homes, damaging another 550 structures, and taking four lives.

In November 2012, Steve Hensley, Director of Kenton County’s Emergency Management contacted the NKAPC GIS department asking to create a map that pinpoints all 33 existing warning sirens across Kenton County. This project utilized software which not only located the sirens, but also illustrated 1- and 2-mile buffers around each one. This map helped determine how well a siren could be heard if it was visible from a certain site and distance.

When the map was finished in December 2012, NKAPC staff members began travelling to specific locations around the county to see if the audibility estimations were correct. Individuals would be ready to conduct a field check during the existing sirens’ monthly tests. Their reports included feedback as to how many sirens could be seen and heard, and the wind direction at that time.

This data was charted to reflect the areas protected and unprotected by the warnings, and the location for Kenton County’s 34th siren was chosen. Through the collaborative efforts of everyone involved, the siren now stands ready.

Click here for WLWT’s coverage of the dedication.

While there is no way to stop tornados from entering our region, it can be made certain that the warning goes out to those communities in danger.

A tribute to an NKAPC Navy veteran

Posted on December 04, 2013
Thanksgiving time in 1968 a young 17-year old Dennis Richard Uchtman took advice from his older brother, who was on leave from the Navy for the holidays, “Join the Navy now!”

After forging his mother’s signature on a required Navy form Uchtman joined the Navy Reserves by signing a six-year commitment.

His first challenge was boot camp at Great Lakes Naval Base in the middle of winter. Afterward he did two years on active duty reporting to the USS Wright CC-2 in Norfolk, Virginia. That ship was decommissioned several months later and he was assigned to the USS Belknap DLG 26, the first in its class of guided missile destroyers and to carry the SH-2 helicopter on deployment.  

While on active duty Uchtman traveled to Athens, Greece; Naples, Italy; and his favorite port, Palma de Mallorca, Spain.

On ship Uchtman would stand watch on the bridge and volunteer to paint the hull. Many seamen were afraid of heights, but he did not mind sitting on a 12-inch board and dangling over the side of the vessel. He was at home with this job, and liked the peace and quiet.

Uchtman was proud to serve his country and enjoyed his time in the Navy. The best gift he received on Christmas Eve in 1974 was his honorable discharge papers, signed by President Richard Nixon. Thank you for serving, Seaman Uchtman. Anchors aweigh!

Uchtman works in the NKAPC Planning and Zoning department as Codes Administrator, and has been serving the citizens of Kenton County for eight years.

Mayors, engineers come to agreement on street standards

Posted on December 04, 2013
In July 2013 a third roundtable discussion was held between The Kenton County Planning Commission’s Subdivision Regulation Committee, the Mayor’s Group, the NKSPE, HBA and Henry Fischer in an attempt to reach consensus on issues primarily surrounding street design, testing and subsurface drainage. For nearly three years each of these groups had varied recommendations regarding what standards should be included in the Draft Subdivision Regulations for Kenton County.

Unfortunately, the third roundtable meeting failed to find common ground between the groups. However, the Sub Reg Committee used this result as an opportunity to present the groups with a challenge. They asked the groups if they would be willing to form their own committee in one last attempt to find design solutions to these issues that all of them could support together. The groups accepted the challenge and began the task of scheduling meetings.

Within a short time after the last roundtable meeting, representatives from the Mayor’s Group, the NKSPE, HBA and Henry Fischer began meeting twice a week, and by their account they ultimately met a total of 28 times. Their discussions also included various public officials, engineers, representatives from the asphalt industry, local contractors and concrete producers. The results of their efforts culminated in a presentation of their conclusions to the Sub Reg Committee on the evening of November 21, 2013.

As the group began presenting their findings, one of the first statements made was that all of the representatives within the group had reached consensus on all of the recommendations that were about to be discussed.

“I thought it was great when I heard that,” said Paul Darpel, Kenton County Planning Commission Chair. “That was the challenge we gave them; Take the time you need, meet at your own pace and try to find solutions that will result in better infrastructure for Kenton County. It looks like that’s exactly what they did.”

Some of the presentation’s highlights included:

•    A Geotechnical Engineering report required for all projects that would determine if standards needed to be increased.
•    Increased subgrade and pavement cross-slopes to increase water flow to the outside edge of the pavement.
•    Concrete curb and gutter that is supported by an asphalt or aggregate base to increase stability and reduce the penetration of surface water.
•    New concrete curb design and jointing details for concrete streets to lesson maintenance requirements and increase joint durability.
•    Edge drains required at the curb along both sides of the street to facilitate subsurface drainage.
•    New expansion material and installation locations to reduce street creep.
•    An improved concrete and asphalt mix design to increase overall pavement life-span; and
•    New standards for asphalt testing to ensure the material conforms to the new mix design.

These represent only a partial list of the recommended improvements to the street design issue. The group stated that there are a few issues where final design parameters are still being hammered out, but that they expected to finish these details soon. Based on the presentation, the Sub Reg Committee directed staff to begin working with the group to incorporate whatever recommendations could be incorporated now in the Draft Subdivision Regulations, and help establish the final specifications for the issues still being discussed.

“It looks like we’re moving close to adoption,” said Paul Darpel. “Once we make the final revisions to the Draft Regulations and work out the final specifications for the remaining issues, we should be on track to get these adopted in the first quarter of next year.”

The committee concluded by thanking the participants for their dedication to the effort and congratulating them on their ability to find common ground on all of the issues.  

Read our current newsletter

Posted on November 07, 2013
NKAPC publishes a monthly online newsletter that focuses on local planning and development-related subjects. Becoming a subscriber is free, and an email version of the newsletter will be sent to you automatically. All past and current issues of this publication are available to everyone visiting

Join our mailing list today!

KC Transportation Plan

Posted on October 15, 2013
A transportation plan for Kenton County was adopted by the OKI Board in March 2003. The plan was intended to meet Kenton County’s transportation needs to year 2030, however a decade has passed since this plan was adopted and much has changed. Population growth south of KY 16, land use shifts, a worldwide economic recession, and growing elderly population are just a few of the changes that have created new challenges to the way people and goods travel in Kenton County. Due to these and many other factors, a fresh look at Kenton County’s current and future transportation needs has been recognized by county leaders and will be addressed by this new plan.
Visit for more information.

… for whatever it’s worth…

Posted on October 14, 2013
Much has been written over the past five years about trends in new development, particularly in terms of suburban versus urban. In her new book The End of the Suburbs: Where the American Dream Is Moving, Leigh Gallagher writes, “Not all suburbs are going to vanish, of course, but the trends are undeniable.”

In a recent article in the online version of UrbanLand magazine, Gallagher who is assistant managing editor at Fortune speaks to a number of issues involving the suburbs. Specifically, she cites three primary reasons why urban areas are seen as most promising for new opportunities.
  • The nuclear family is no longer the norm, with marriage and birth rates in decline, although they have recently plateaued at a lower level.
  • As the price of gasoline increases, people are driving less, buying cars less often, and, in some instances, even forgoing a driver’s license.
  • Cities are booming, while the suburbs are seeing more poverty and crime that they may be ill-equipped to deal with.
The article and the book are interesting reading regardless of whether you believe current trends. Check out Gallagher’s view for whatever it’s worth.

Views expressed in this article do not reflect an official position or policy of the NKAPC. The article is presented here to provide input for those interested in land use planning issues.

Villa Hills, Park Hills unite with joint code enforcement board

Posted on October 14, 2013
Seven Kenton County jurisdictions have worked together on code enforcement administration since 2006. Two more jurisdictions are scheduled to join the collaborative effort before the end of the year. Villa Hills and Park Hills councils are in the process now of acting on the interlocal agreement under which the Kenton County Joint Code Enforcement Board operates.

The seven current participating jurisdictions include Crescent Springs, Crestview Hills, Fort Wright, Kenton Vale, Lakeside Park, Taylor Mill, and unincorporated Kenton County. Under the interlocal agreement, each jurisdiction appoints one member to serve a four-year term on the board. The board’s membership will grow to nine when Villa Hills and Park Hills complete the necessary legislative action.

“Creating this joint board seven years ago made so much sense,” said Dennis Andrew Gordon, FAICP, NKAPC’s executive director. “The collaboration has definitely strengthened the hands of the seven participating jurisdictions. I’m confident Villa Hills and Park Hills will see this too.”

The Kenton County Joint Code Enforcement Board was an outgrowth of NKAPC’s One Stop Shop codes administration program. As NKAPC staff stepped up code enforcement activities in each of the participating communities, they encountered a cumulative number of property owners who would not abate zoning violations on their properties.

Taking them through the local court system seemed expensive and time consuming when an appointed board of citizens could handle the cases. NKAPC staff approached those jurisdictions that didn’t already have a code enforcement board as authorized by state law. The seven acted relatively quickly to create the collaborative effort.

As envisioned by the Kentucky Revised Statutes, local code enforcement staff cite violators with a ticket much the same as a traffic officer cites a driver for speeding. The driver then has a choice to make. (S)He can either pay the fine associated with the violation or appeal the citation. All appeals go before the jurisdiction’s code enforcement board that acts in much the same role as a judge.

The Kentucky General Assembly authorized local code enforcement boards over the past decade. The goal was to cut down on the caseload before local courts and to give local communities more control over code enforcement activities in their communities. The interlocal agreement under which the Kenton County Joint Board operates allows for adding new communities that see the need to be part of a bigger, collaborative effort to administer local zoning codes.

Historic Licking Riverside among best neighborhoods in US

Posted on October 14, 2013
The American Planning Association (APA) last week announced the designation of Covington’s Historic Licking Riverside Neighborhood as one of ten Great Neighborhoods for 2013. Each year during National Community Planning Month APA's Great Places in America program names 30 exemplary neighborhoods, streets, and public spaces to highlight the role planning and planners play in adding value to communities, including fostering economic growth and jobs.
APA singled out Licking Riverside for its outstanding 19th Century architecture, collaborative efforts by residents and local planners, scenic rivers, and city views.
"Having our Historic Licking Riverside neighborhood designated as one of APA's Top 10 Great Neighborhoods for 2013 validates our past and on-going efforts for historic preservation, for urban forestry as it relates to livable communities, and for improving 'quality of place' in our other neighborhoods that may not be blessed with the special attributes of Historic Licking Riverside," said Covington Mayor Sherry Carran.
The nine other APA 2013 Great Neighborhoods are:
  • Chinatown, San Francisco, CA;
  • Downtown Norwich, CT;
  • Downtown Decatur, Decatur, GA;
  • Central Street Neighborhood, Evanston, IL;
  • Downtown Mason City, Mason City, IA;
  • Kenwood, Minneapolis, MN;
  • Beaufort Historic District, Beaufort, SC;
  • West Freemason, Norfolk, VA; and
  • Williamson-Marquette Neighborhood, Madison, WI.      
For more information about these neighborhoods, as well as APA's top ten Great Streets and top ten Great Public Spaces for 2013 and previous years, visit

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