Engineering staff scheduling seminar on street maintenance issues

Posted on April 04, 2017

PDS will be hosting an upcoming seminar on the importance of performing preventative and routine maintenance on streets as it relates to street longevity. The target audience for the seminar will be mayors and city administrators.

Staff has reached out to professionals at the Kentucky Transportation Center (KTC) in Lexington to lead the discussion. KTC is the research division for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and focuses on a wide range of transportation-related issues including pavement maintenance.

“A new set of subdivision regulations were recently adopted by the Kenton County Planning Commission,” said Scott Hiles, Director of Infrastructure Engineering. “These regulations contained more stringent street standards. Now that new streets are starting to be constructed using these new standards there’s no doubt that cities are starting to get higher quality streets that have the potential to last longer. We want to help cities understand that regardless of the fact they are now getting higher quality streets, if routine and preventative maintenance isn’t provided these high quality streets will still fail prematurely.”

The seminar will touch on the specific types of pavement maintenance, but will primarily focus on the importance of factoring the need for preventative maintenance into annual budgets. One graph that is often used to illustrate the need for preventive maintenance is shown below.

"This graph clearly shows that dollars used for maintenance early in the life of a pavement when it’s still in good condition, grow exponentially to address the rehabilitation that will be needed if the maintenance isn’t done,” said Hiles. “Staff worked for several years to ensure that cities would get better street standards and ultimately, better streets. Now that it is happening, we just want to make sure cities understand the role that maintenance plays in keeping those pavements in good condition.”

The seminar will likely take place in May. Discussions about the event’s details are ongoing with KTC staff.


Developers give feedback on two-year-old subdivision regulations

Posted on April 04, 2017

The PDS Infrastructure Engineering department hosted a roundtable discussion with local subdivision contractors on March 7th. The purpose of the event was to identify any areas where improvements could be made to the new Kenton County Subdivision Regulations or to how they’re administered, and to share any ideas to help make the process more efficient.

“Since it had been two years since the new Kenton County Subdivision Regulations were adopted we thought now would be a good time to sit down with the contractors and discuss how they are adapting to them, or if they have suggested improvements,” said Scott Hiles, Director of Infrastructure Engineering.

In the two years since the adoption of the new regulations there have been eight subdivisions with construction improvements that were required to comply with the new regulations. “Within those eight subdivisions there has been more than 6,500 feet of street constructed that was required to comply with the new regulations,” said Hiles. “So we knew based on our activity level that both the staff and the contractors had experiences they would like to discuss.”

About 40 individuals attended the roundtable discussion. Most of the group were contractors, while PDS staff, KCPC members, developers and engineers also attended.

A wide range of issues were discussed at the meeting. The more serious issues focused on specification tolerances. Hiles explained, “Many of the specifications in the new regulations are ‘absolute’. This means the results have no ability to vary slightly above or below the specification. Some of the contractors asked that amendments be considered to add tolerances where there are currently none.”

KCPC Chair Paul Darpel stated that the meeting’s focus was to identify and discuss these issues, but that it would take future meetings with the Subdivision Regulations Committee of the Kenton County Planning Commission to discuss possible solutions.

“Although there are still some issues that will have to be addressed, the most positive outcome from the meeting was the general concurrence that the new regulations were producing quality streets. That was the goal from the beginning so by all accounts it seems the new regulations are hitting their mark,” said Hiles.


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.


Elsmere to join Kenton County Joint Code Enforcement Board

Posted on April 04, 2017

The Elsmere City Council voted unanimously during its March 14, 2017, meeting to become the 14th jurisdiction represented by the Kenton County Joint Code Enforcement Board, a local area alliance staffed by PDS’ One Stop Shop program.

Other members of the joint board are Kenton County, Crescent Springs, Crestview Hills, Edgewood, Fort Wright, Independence, Kenton Vale, Lakeside Park, Ludlow, Park Hills, Ryland Heights, Taylor Mill, and Villa Hills.

Elsmere City Administrator Matt Dowling stated, “Code enforcement continues to be a growing issue in most communities; Elsmere is no different. Cities struggle with serving citations legally and providing an appeal process that will hold up if the case ends up in court. By entering the Joint Code Enforcement Board, Elsmere will benefit by getting these concerns filled.”

“If a property owner appeals his case we know the Joint Code Enforcement Board members will be trained and have legal representation present during all meetings to provide them with legal advice every month. Another benefit is our city staff will no longer have to administer the city’s Code Enforcement Board, allowing the staff to work on other job duties,” said Dowling.

The board, comprised of an appointed representative from each jurisdiction, provides an objective forum to hear appeals from property owners, order timely remediation or abatement of issues, or if necessary impose civil fines for continued, unabated violations of ordinances.

The Joint Code Enforcement Board meets on the second Thursday of every month at 6:00 p.m. in the Commission Chambers of the PDS Building in Fort Mitchell.



Latest NKYmapLAB product highlights Riverfront Commons project

Posted on April 04, 2017

The newest NKYmapLAB project is a collaborative effort between PDS, Southbank Partners and Strategic Advisors featuring the 11.5-mile long Riverfront Commons multi-use trail in Northern Kentucky. Riverfront Commons is an 11.5-mile uninterrupted walking, running, and biking trail that links Northern Kentucky’s six river cities – Ludlow, Covington, Newport, Bellevue, Dayton, and Fort Thomas – to the City of Cincinnati and other local trail systems. This trail is the signature project of Southbank Partners, a community and economic development organization that supports these river cities.

The newly released Story Map will provide several resource-rich interactive maps that allow users to see what portions of the trail have been completed, what is being built in 2017, and what is planned for the future. There are numerous images, links, points-of-interest, reports, and design documents available through this Story Map.

Portions of the trail system already have been completed in two cities. On Tuesday March 14th, the City of Covington Mayor and Board of Commissioners approved an order awarding the Riverfront Commons Project construction bid to Sunesis Construction.

Sunesis was awarded $1,280,480 to begin the construction of pieces of the Riverfront Commons project in Ludlow, Newport and Covington. Construction is expected to start as early as May and will be completed this year.

When finished, Riverfront Commons will seamlessly connect Northern Kentucky’s six river cities with the City of Cincinnati via the Purple People Bridge, the pedestrian-only bridge spanning the Ohio River.

The trail also will connect with other local trails systems, such as Licking River Greenway and Devou Park Backcountry Trails in Covington, Tower Park Trails in Fort Thomas, and the Ohio River Bike Trail which will ultimately connect with the Little Miami Scenic Trail running through five southwestern Ohio counties.

“We have worked carefully with Southbank Partners and Strategic Advisors to release this project during the part of the year that is most timely. We intentionally aimed for an end of March release date, which falls between awarding the construction bids, and the start of the on-ground trail improvements,” said Louis Hill, Geospatial Data Analyst with PDS.


For additional information about the Story Map contact Louis Hill, AICP, GISP. NKYmapLAB is available online, and on Twitter @NKYmapLAB. Questions about the Riverfront Commons trail, estimated completions dates, Manhattan Harbour, future trail locations, and project financing should be directed to Southbank Partners.



Staff rolls out database of subdivision lots available, developed

Posted on April 04, 2017
Want to know more about lot availability of subdivisions in Kenton County? Through the collaborative efforts of PDS staff, new subdivision data has been created and is now available on the new LINK-GIS Development Analyst map viewer.

Two members of the GIS team, Joe Busemeyer, GISP and Steve Lilly, PLS, GISP, CPII; have utilized the power of GIS Model Builder to extract “vacant” and “developed” parcel information in the active subdivisions of Kenton County.

The project began as a discussion regarding information that is commonly requested at PDS. What subdivisions have lots available? How many parcels are available and how many have been developed in said subdivision? Is the subdivision single or multi-family? From there Busemeyer began looking at the GIS data layers that already exist. Using the Model Builder technology in the ESRI GIS software, he was able to create a series of models that intersect existing GIS data layers, run calculations, extract new information and generate a series of new GIS database layers to answer these questions. During this process Busemeyer realized that some of the GIS data needed some updates and upgrades.

Lilly, who maintains many of the GIS layers involving development in Kenton County, utilized his expertise of this information for this project. He performed extensive quality control on the Preliminary Plat layer, which represents active and non-active subdivisions in the county and is one of the key GIS layers used in the models Busemeyer developed.

After many rounds of testing and tweaking the data and models, they were able to create the GIS layers needed to answer the subdivision questions.

Busemeyer then created the new Development Analyst map viewer, added the new subdivision GIS data, and configured pop-ups for the new GIS layers. Now when users click on a subdivision in the map viewer, they will see a window showing information pertaining to that subdivision. Adding these dynamic layers allow users to interact with the data, such as turning the layers on and off and clicking on the features for more information.

In addition to the map viewer, Lilly developed a user-friendly spreadsheet that could be exported onto the website. The document displays commonly requested key pieces of information. Developments are organized by their city and display the acreage, total lots planned, and total lots built. Each development name is also hyperlinked and will open to its location on the over-all development plan.

Through the collaboration of PDS staff members and innovative use of GIS technology, subdivision information is readily available in just a few clicks of the mouse.

To try out this new function, visit linkgis.org and start exploring today!


PDS Council elects new officers, fills seats on management board

Posted on March 07, 2017
The PDS Council—the governing body for Planning and Development Services of Kenton County—met for its annual organizational meeting two weeks ago. Representatives of most Kenton County governments were present. Independence Mayor Chris Reinersman was re-elected the council’s president for 2017; Lakeside Park Mayor Dave Jansing was re-elected vice president, and Elsmere Mayor Marty Lenhof was re-elected secretary. All terms run through January next year.

In another election, council members elected three individuals to serve two-year terms on the PDS Management Board. Elected were former Covington Mayor Sherry Carran, County Commissioner Beth Sewell, and Fort Wright Councilman Bernie Wessels.

Carran and Sewell serve on the Board currently. Wessels will replace board member and former Taylor Mill Mayor Mark Kreimborg who chose not to run for re-election.

Four other individuals serve on the Management Board, having been elected in 2016 to two-year terms. They are former Fort Wright Mayor Tom Litzler, Crestview Hills Mayor Paul Meier, Independence City Administrator Chris Moriconi, and Park Hills Mayor Matt Mattone.

As directed by the Kentucky Revised Statutes, the PDS Council provides a forum in which Kenton County planning issues can be debated and consensus achieved. With a membership of elected officials only, the Council is also responsible for final review of the organization’s annual budget and the tax rate that funds it.

True to its name, the seven-member Management Board oversees the professional staff, sets policy to achieve the Council’s direction, and provides oversight for the daily operations of the organization.

Others included on the ballot for seats on the Management Board were former Covington Commissioner Chuck Eilerman, former Park Hills Councilman Monty O’Hara, and former Fort Wright Councilman Don Martin.

Engineering staff schedules round table for feedback on regulations

Posted on March 07, 2017
PDS’s Infrastructure Engineering department has scheduled a round table discussion with local subdivision contractors at 9:00 a.m. on March 7th at the PDS office.

The purpose of this event will be to identify any areas where improvements can be made to the new Kenton County Subdivision Regulations or as to how they’re administered, and to share any ideas that would help make the process more efficient.

“It’s been almost two years since the new Kenton County Subdivision Regulations were adopted,” said Scott Hiles, Director of Infrastructure Engineering. “We thought now would be a good time to sit down with the contractors and discuss how they are adapting to them, or if they have suggested improvements.”

Hiles said in the past two years there have been seven subdivisions constructed using the new regulations. “When the new regulations were adopted two years ago the planning commission granted a grace period for subdivisions approved prior to adoption of the new regulations.”

This extra time allowed contractors to keep using the old regulations, but only until December 31, 2016.  “Now that this grace period is expired and all contractors are required to start using the new regulations, we thought that was another reason that it was good time for this discussion to occur.”

As it relates to the subdivision contractors, the new subdivision regulations affect how they provide earthwork construction, ditch construction, geotechnical testing requirements, pavement drainage, curb and gutter and the pavement cross slopes and pavement materials themselves.

“Particularly for street construction, there are a lot of changes between the old and new regulations,” said Hiles. “Not all of the new regulations represent major changes, but the contractors still have a lot of different responsibilities than they did before. I expect we’ll have a lot of issues to discuss.”

Hiles said he’s already received RSVP’s from most of the contractors that were invited and is expecting a good turnout. 

GIS, Planning directors speak to national audience on collaboration

Posted on March 07, 2017
The PDS planning and GIS teams were recognized recently at a national conference in California for their smart planning practices. Emi Randall, AICP, RLA, Planning Director and Trisha Brush, GISP, Director of GIS were asked to present on new approaches to planning and geodesign, that utilizes the power of spatial planning, web apps and maps.

The Geodesign Summit is an annual gathering of professionals seeking to use geospatial technologies by planning to arrive at the best design solutions.

Randall and Brush showcased recent projects in their presentation on which their teams have worked together over the last several years; including Direction 2030, site readiness and NKYmapLAB. The presentation featured PDS and LINK-GIS efforts in using collaborative analysis to inform local decision makers and ignite discussions on important issues. These initiatives were enriched by harnessing the power of dynamic maps and other multimedia content to tell a story.

“I believe our presentation was well received by the audience of over 200 attendees. Showing how Kenton County is bringing planning and GIS together to impact the community is powerful,” states Randall.

Brush appreciated the opportunity to share NKYmapLAB projects such as Plan4Health and Walkability with the attendees; excellent examples that demonstrate the planning and geodesign aspects of PDS.

By using multimedia technology and collaborative efforts PDS is leading data driven discussions among elected officials and citizens to tell Kenton County’s story.

What story could your community tell by using planning and GIS together to design a shared best solution?

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.


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