Direction 2030

"Direction 2030: Your Voice, Your Choice" is a community planning initiative centered on public input to develop the new Kenton County comprehensive plan. NO Image:

Staff assumes role with county economic development group

Posted on June 01, 2017

Kenton County Judge/Executive Kris Knochelmann formed a site readiness taskforce in 2016 to analyze land in the county and identify parcels for industrial development. The taskforce membership includes representatives from Kenton County Fiscal Court, PDS, Northern Kentucky Tri-ED, the Northern Kentucky Water District, Duke Energy, REDI Cincinnati, SD1, and citizen stakeholders.

PDS and TRI-ED have been tasked with looking at areas in Kenton County for future industrial development.

“The goal is to determine where industrial development is most appropriate for the future and change the future land use vision for those areas in Direction 2030, the county’s comprehensive plan. If we set these areas aside now and plan for the necessary infrastructure to support manufacturing, we’ll provide future generations with job opportunities,” said Emi Randall, AICP, RLA, Director of Planning and Zoning Administration.

PDS planners and GIS staff have worked with Tri-ED to conduct an examination of all 62,206 Kenton County parcels. Through careful analysis of multiple characteristics, certain parcels were identified as having industrial potential. Parcels that were unsuited due to parcel size, existing buildings, developmentally-sensitive areas (environmental concerns), zoning, access to major roads, and access to water and sewer infrastructure were eliminated.

The analysis confirmed what many suspected; there is little land available in Kenton County for manufacturing. The initial GIS analysis yielded only 20 parcels in the county that meet all identified real estate criteria for industrial development. Among those, only six parcels can be made ready for industrial development within the next five years.

Furthermore, the only site on the list that is ready today for industrial development is the Showcase Cinemas Site in Erlanger, which is currently under contract for development.

Through the generous support of Duke Energy, nationally-renowned site selection consultant McCullum Sweeney, was contracted to provide guidance to Tri-ED for these six sites. Upon further scrutiny, there is much work needed to get these sites prepared for economic development.

“Not only do we have very few sites available for industrial development, we have very high development costs to get those sites build-pad ready,” said Wade Williams, Senior Vice President of Tri-ED. “Environmental mitigation costs are extremely high and these sites still need utility improvements and grading. They’re not ready today.”

Kenton County is home to numerous development patterns and land uses within its boundaries. The land use element of Direction 2030 states the following; “There is a need for land which has the appropriate infrastructure in place to support industrial uses. Large parcels (50 acres or more) of ready to build upon land are in particularly short supply and efforts should be made to increase the amount of such land in the county.”

The taskforce will work over the course of 2017 to develop a strategy to bring additional sites into the short-term pipeline for industrial development.

 



Staff preps for bicycle/pedestrian plan; grant will pay for outreach efforts

Posted on May 04, 2017
Initial steps are being taken now for a completely new bicycle and pedestrian plan for Kenton County. Preparation and preliminary research for the upcoming study has been ongoing. The public side of the study is scheduled to begin in the coming weeks and is anticipated to take about 12 months to complete. The resulting plan will replace plans adopted in 1999 and 2001.

Goals of the upcoming study include analyzing the county’s existing bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure, identifying problematic crash locations, and recommending policy changes to improve bicycle and pedestrian use, safety, and access in Kenton County.

“It’s been almost 20 years since bicycle and pedestrian transportation has been reviewed,” said James Fausz, AICP, PDS’ long range planning manager. “Since that time, people have become more aware of these transportation options and chosen them more frequently for everything from recreation to daily commuting. Our goal is to make these options safer for people who want to use them.”

Coinciding with the start of the study is an outreach effort to promote education and awareness of bicycle and pedestrian safety. This effort was aided by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet with a generous $10,000 Paula Nye Grant.

The grant is funded through citizen donations during the purchase or renewal of the “Share the Road” license plates and is awarded annually to organizations interested in informing and educating Kentuckians on bicycle and pedestrian transportation. The grant will fund an outreach effort including public service announcements designed to educate the public on how they can be safe as cyclists and pedestrians.

“Bicycle and pedestrian transportation are an increasingly viable options in Kenton County,” said Chris Schneider, AICP, a principal planner at PDS and project manager for the study. “Educating the public to be safe cyclists and pedestrians is essential to continue this growth.”

The public service announcements will air on local cable television and will encourage public involvement and raise awareness for the upcoming bicycle and pedestrian study.

The adoption of the Direction 2030: Your Voice. Your Choice. comprehensive plan in 2014 recommended a comprehensive review and update of the existing bicycle and pedestrian plans. The comprehensive plan details the community’s vision for Kenton County and updating the bicycle and pedestrian plan is one step in achieving that vision.

To learn more about this study, get involved, and/or receive updates about its progress, visit the Direction 2030 Action website or contact Schneider.


Bike/Pedestrian study about to begin; will become part of comp plan

Posted on January 03, 2017

PDS staff began preliminary research recently in preparation for updating Kenton County’s plans for bicycle and pedestrian transportation. Work on the actual study will begin in earnest next month and take roughly 12 months to complete. It will replace plans adopted in 1999 and 2002.

The Kenton County Planning Commission and its 20 local governments utilize two plans currently related to active transportation. The bicycle plan was updated last in 1999 and the pedestrian plan in 2002. Neither subject was covered at length in Direction 2030. Your Voice. Your Choice.—the community’s comprehensive plan.

“These stand-alone plans no longer reflect the needs and issues affecting Kenton County’s bicycle and pedestrian modes of transportation,” said Emi Randall, AICP, RLS, Director of Planning and Zoning at PDS. “And, with growing demand for walkability and healthy lifestyles, now is the time to update these plans.”

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet aided this effort with a $10,000 Paula Nye Grant to improve safety of non-motorized transportation. As recipient of the grant, PDS will use these funds to educate the public, increase awareness of bicycle and pedestrian safety issues, and raise awareness of the countywide planning effort through a public service announcement campaign.

“Awareness of bicycle and pedestrian safety in Kenton County is becoming an important issue as these modes of transportation become more popular and the demand for these facilities increases,” said Randall.

Comments received during the Direction 2030 planning process were incorporated into the plan’s Statement of Goals and Objectives and Mobility elements of the comprehensive plan. The current bicycle/pedestrian study will be adopted into the plan once it’s completed.

As part of the study, PDS staff will study existing conditions and identify issues and concerns with Kenton County’s existing bicycle and pedestrian system. Goals for the plan include inventorying existing bicycle and pedestrian amenities such as bike lanes, bike routes, walking paths, and signage; and, improving the community’s bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure.

Adoption of Direction 2030 in September 2014 completed a two-year long process of research and public engagement, ultimately crafting the community’s vision for Kenton County. The adoption of the comprehensive plan was just one of many steps in making that vision become a reality for Kenton County.

If you’re interested in learning more about this study, getting involved, and/or receiving updates about its progress, visit the Direction 2030 Action website or contact Chris Schneider, AICP, Principal Planner.

Staff provides all 20 Jurisdictions with profiles full of information

Posted on November 03, 2016
PDS staff crafted new city data sheets this past summer to offer snapshots of demographic trends, public infrastructure, and development activity for each of Kenton County’s 20 jurisdictions. The sheets are updates of research conducted as a part of Direction 2030: Your Choice Your Voice, Kenton County’s comprehensive plan adopted in 2014.

The updated sheets are now available on the Direction 2030 Action website.
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This edition of the city data sheets features information from a variety of public sources as well as local LINK-GIS data. Some of the most notable additions to the sheets are an inventory of street and sidewalk length, park and tree canopy acreage, traffic counts sourced from the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, and an assessment of each city’s potential for solar energy production. The sheets also provide housing statistics, demographic data, and a two-year record of building permit requests.

PDS staff presented the sheets to city administrators in each jurisdiction, highlighting local trends within the context of the county.

“The city data sheets provided by PDS show positive trends for our city,” says Chris Moriconi, City Administrator for Independence. “Property values have increased over the past decade along with median household income. I was also excited to see that our population is expected to continue to grow into the year 2020. We are very happy to have this information as it shows our city is moving in the right direction.”

The city administrators also reviewed the information provided by PDS staff, shared local data with staff, and discussed changes they thought might be necessary for the sheets. To ensure the accuracy of statistics, housing and demographic representations were drawn from 2000 and 2010 census tables using 100% survey data.

Staff plans to incorporate some census estimates for years succeeding 2010 in the next update to the data sheets.

Direction 2030 comprehensive plan earns national award

Posted on March 24, 2016

Kenton County’s new comprehensive plan—Direction 2030: Your Voice. Your Choiceis the 2016 recipient of a national Award of Excellence in the Comprehensive Plan – Large Jurisdiction category. The award is one of several accolades granted to planning projects from across the nation by the American Planning Association (APA) County Planning Division and its sister organization, the National Association of County Planners. The award will be presented on April 4 during the APA National Conference in Phoenix, Arizona.

“This recognition was a nice surprise,” said Dennis Gordon, FAICP, executive director of Planning and Development Services of Kenton County (PDS). PDS provides professional staff support to the Kenton County Planning Commission, the board ultimately responsible for crafting and adopting the comprehensive plan.

“Being acknowledged with the respect of your peers is outstanding. In this case, though, it recognizes the fact that this plan was the result of hard work by members of the planning commission, citizens and interest groups from across the county, and of course our staff. This plan was truly a collaborative effort,” said Gordon.

Direction 2030: Your Voice. Your Choice. was crafted through an aggressive three-year public engagement process. The plan was grounded in research provided by a national market analyst, most of it from sources bankers use for reviewing development-financing strategies.

Planners and technical experts from PDS’ GIS team then went to work crafting an entirely new concept for content delivery. The final plan (direction2030.org)—there is no printed product—documents its creation, delivers guidance to anyone anywhere 24/7/365, and incorporates GIS technologies to entice users to interact with its contents.

Shortly after the plan’s adoption, PDS planners and GIS professionals created a second website (action.direction2030.org) to keep participants and stakeholders up to date with information from the various implementation efforts being undertaken by the planning commission and others across the community.

This national award follows an Award of Merit for an Outstanding Comprehensive Plan given last year by the Kentucky Chapter of the American Planning Association.

Each year the American Planning Association’s County Planning Division and the National Association of County Planners gives out County Planning Project Awards. Only one Award of Excellence and one Award of Merit may be granted per category each year. If the awards jury finds that none of the nominations in a particular category meets the desirable standards, they may withhold the award in that category for that year.

“This recognition, without question, goes ultimately to the countless residents who came out to express their hopes and dreams for Kenton County’s future. Much more than merely a title, Direction 2030: Your Voice. Your Choice. really did represent the ultimate goal for our process and our final product,” concluded Gordon. “We couldn’t be prouder that our collaborative efforts are being held up as a model.”

“Thank you Kenton County!”


Toolbox for engaging the public is about to include video capabilities

Posted on December 29, 2015

Videos from PDS will soon play a greater role in the agency’s short and long-term planning efforts. These videos are being produced in-house, facilitating understanding of specific planning issues in a format that is easy for everyone to understand.

“Engaging the public in the planning initiatives we pursue is always a challenge,” stated Dennis Gordon, FAICP, PDS’ executive director. “With people’s hectic schedules and the proliferation of tablets and smart phones, we felt video was a logical next step in our public outreach program. If they can’t get to us, we’ll go to them.”

PDS produced video previously as a part of Direction 2030, Kenton County’s comprehensive plan. The plan, available at direction2030.org is one of the few comprehensive plans in the country designed completely within a website format, providing a dynamic user-experience. The video was included on the Direction 2030 homepage since its adoption in September 2014 to introduce the plan and plans for Kenton County’s future.

Video will be used to keep citizens updated on decisions made by the Kenton County Planning Commission. Short snippet videos will be made available immediately following KCPC decisions and will be disseminated through social media. Expect to see more PDS video activity on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other social media channels in the future.

PDS’ new associate planner, Alex Koppelman, has been instrumental in the agency’s efforts to incorporate more video into its everyday workflow. Koppelman works with others on the team to integrate video production of all sorts into planning projects, often times using nothing more than the capabilities of his iPhone. He is a recent graduate of the University of Cincinnati’s Master of Community Planning program and joined PDS in September.

“I’ve been doing video production professionally for a long time and started utilizing these skills to improve my planning and communication efforts,” Koppelman said. “After producing a park plan video while at UC, I discovered this was a powerful way to express planning ideas and activities. I’m really looking forward to incorporating this effective communication tool into more of our projects.”

PDS leads a variety of projects and anticipates incorporating video for future plans, story-maps, and other PDS activities. Start following PDS on social media today and watch for more videos in the near future.

“This is clearly a case of newly-minted planners teaching us old timers new ways of doing our jobs,” concluded Gordon. “We’re really pleased to have Alex on our team and benefitting from the skills he brings to PDS’ staff.”


Direction 2030, new subdivision regulations awarded top honors

Posted on July 09, 2015
The Kenton County Planning Commission accomplished even more than it thought when it adopted a new comprehensive plan and new subdivision regulations for Kenton County earlier this year. PDS staff’s crafting and the planning commission’s adoption of the two documents garnered top honors at this year’s awards program of the Kentucky Chapter of the American Planning Association (APA-KY).

The 2015 APA-KY Outstanding Comprehensive Plan Award was given to Direction 2030: Your Voice, Your Choice and the Outstanding Project/Program/Tool Award was granted to Kenton County’s Subdivision Regulations. Both awards cap off years’-long efforts by staff and the planing commission to replace documents that were adopted initially during the 1970s.

Earning both awards puts PDS and the planning commission in a unique position. To the best of recollections by current APA-KY leaders, this is the first time that a jurisdiction has taken home the chapter’s two top honors in a single year.

The September 2014 adoption of Direction 2030: Your Voice, Your Choice put in place a new comprehensive plan for the county and did so while realizing several challenging achievements. This nearly-three-year effort was accomplished with the unanimous support of Kenton County’s 20 jurisdictions in the first update of the countywide Goals & Objectives in more than 40 years. It also accomplished what few communities (if any) have done before. Direction 2030 and its interactive mapping format is entirely web based; no single printed document was produced.

“Kenton County’s new comprehensive plan is the product of strong relationships—both pre-existing and newly-created—between PDS staff, members of the Planning Commission, and stakeholders from throughout the community,” said Dennis Gordon, FAICP, PDS’ executive director. “Without the creative, diligent, and persevering efforts of these relationships, this plan and the recognition it’s received now wouldn’t have been possible.”

Direction 2030: Your Voice, Your Choice can be accessed here. A website dedicated to implementation efforts for the plan will be put online soon. Watch this space or the PDS website for news about that effort. Contact James Fausz, AICP, a PDS principal planner, at jfausz@pdskc.org or 859.331.8980 for more information.

The effort to rewrite Kenton County’s subdivision regulations—a document which impacts all 20 local jurisdictions—began in the fall of 2009. It concluded this past March 10th when the Kenton County Planning Commission voted unanimously to adopt the new regulations. That action ended implementation of regulations that were adopted first in 1978.

This vote completed an arduous effort by PDS staff, KCPC, the Kenton County Mayors’ Group, and local development and home building interests to: produce a document that is efficient for use by both developers and staff; provide greater design flexibility for developers and ultimately the buying public; promote better coordination with governmental agencies that play a role in the subdivision review and approval process; and most importantly, to provide taxpayer protection to those who will have to maintain the streets that serve these developments. 

“The planning commission’s primary concern was to hear and consider every suggestion that was made,” said Gordon. “Members knew that they wouldn’t be able to incorporate all of the suggestions but were committed to making all of the groups that participated feel like they had had a voice and that their suggestions were given proper consideration.”

“To be recognized for this accomplishment is icing on the cake,” he concluded.

The newly-adopted Kenton County Subdivision Regulations can be found here. Contact Scott Hiles, CPC, PDS’ director of infrastructure engineering, at shiles@pdskc.org or 859.331.8980 for more information.


Direction 2030 implementation efforts continue to build momentum

Posted on May 05, 2015
Steps taken by PDS staff during the crafting of Direction 2030 paved the way for implementation efforts now underway across Kenton County. Breaking the citizen input received through the Kenton County Planning Commission’s aggressive public outreach into subareas of the county is paying off now as planners work with local groups to take steps towards accomplishing the comprehensive plan’s goals.

Current efforts are focused primarily on the urban and rural subareas. There are two major advantages to this approach. First, it promotes coordination and collaboration amongst multiple jurisdictions which share a common vision and are working towards implementing similar projects. Secondly, it allows for continued public dialogue around issues that have been identified in the plan as a priority and engages the community in finding solutions. The urban and rural subarea implementation efforts are doing just that.

“Our citizen partners are very enthusiastic about these projects since the focus is finally on implementation,” said Michael Ionna, AICP, a PDS principal planner. Ionna is facilitating implementation efforts being pursued in the urban subarea. “We anticipate that in six months we will have made significant progress on the recommendations.”

Following preliminary meetings with key stakeholders and examination of available resources, the urban subarea project team has identified three projects which implement recommendations of Direction 2030. The current list includes: an inventory and analysis of existing and potential park and recreation facilities; an evaluation and streamlining of zoning regulations and permitting processes; and, development of a tool for documenting current, completed, and potential development projects and initiatives within the urban core of Kenton County.

Work has begun on the parks and recreation project. Over the course of the next few months the project partners will work to inventory recreation facilities and locations to identify the types of amenities being provided as well as the area and population each facility serves.

This information will be put into a digital format to be published online as a public resource as well as a tool to provide input to guide new investments into the system. This project is a collaborative effort between PDS planning and GIS staffs and Kenton County’s river cities.

Work on rural subarea implementation continues with the work of the South Kenton County Citizens Group. Each committee (roads, agricultural heritage, services, and zoning) has met at least twice over the past two months. Ed Dietrich, PDS principal planner, is facilitating this subarea’s implementation efforts.

The services committee has met with the Northern Kentucky Water District to discuss water extension to the remaining residents of southern Kenton County. The committee has also met with the Telecommunications Board and learned about increasing the coverage of its broadcast. The roads committee met with Kenton County’s chief of police and public works director to talk about improving the safety of roadways.

The agricultural heritage committee has discussed various options to promote agriculture. The committee will discuss strategies to attract young people to farming at their upcoming meeting in May. The zoning committee is working with PDS on various zoning options to keep south Kenton County rural.

The citizens group is planning a public meeting on June 15th to receive the general public’s thoughts about the work that has been accomplished so far.

For more information about projects being pursued in these two subareas, contact Ionna at mionna@pdskc.org and Dietrich at edietrich@pdskc.org.
 
 

PDS, partners receive grant for health provisions of comprehensive plan

Posted on May 05, 2015
A newly-formed partnership that includes PDS received notice last month of a $135,000 grant award from the American Planning Association (APA) through its Plan4Health program to combat two elements of chronic disease – lack of physical activity and lack of access to nutritious foods.  The grant will fund activities outlined in Kenton County’s recently-adopted new comprehensive plan.

PDS and its partners will work over the next 12 months to lay the groundwork for a county-wide Food Policy Council to ensure that healthy and accessible food efforts continue into the future. Partnering organizations include the Center for Great Neighborhoods of Covington, Inc.; the Northern Kentucky Health Department; OKI Regional Council of Governments; and, Planning and Development Services of Kenton County.

“I’m really pleased that our proposal was selected for funding; I understand the competition was fierce,” said Dennis Gordon, FAICP, PDS executive director.

“The basis for the project proposal came from the aggressive public engagement we pursued for Direction 2030.org, Kenton County’s new comprehensive plan. Residents told us for the first time that health should be an important factor in future land use planning. These funds will help our partnership take positive steps toward implementing that goal,” he said.

The Kenton County Plan4Health coalition (KCP4H) will work to provide access to nutritious food across the county. Efforts will include a county-wide assessment of underserved neighborhoods in addition to a series of actions addressing affordability of and access to healthy food.

The grant will facilitate an opportunity for the KCP4H coalition to map the area’s full-line grocery stores, locate neighborhoods with limited access to healthy foods, and increase the supply of fresh produce for residents in need. The foundation for long-term efforts will also result from this grant project.

APA’s Plan4Health program is implemented in partnership with the American Public Health Association and represents a major new collaboration between planners and public health professionals. This is the first time that APA, via funding from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has offered grants to promote healthy living.

For more information on the Kenton County Plan4Health Coalition or grant projects, contact Jenna LeCount, AICP, PDS principal planner, at jlecount@pdskc.org or 859.331.8980.

 

 


Staffer scheduled to speak to national audience on Direction 2030 website

Posted on March 25, 2015

When planners from around the country gather in Seattle next month to learn about the latest innovative professional techniques and tools, Direction 2030 will be part of the program. Direction 2030 is Kenton County’s new comprehensive plan and is completely web-based—the first completely digital comprehensive plan in the region.

The online plan will be presented by James Fausz, AICP, PDS principal planner, as part of a panel discussion to educate other professionals about the benefits and challenges of digital documentation efforts. Other presenters on the team include Justin Goodwin from MKSK in Columbus, Ohio, Devayani Puranik from the City of Dublin, Ohio, and Emi Randall, AICP, from the Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments (OKI).

“Throughout the creation of our regional web-based plan, we researched what others were doing and there wasn’t much out there to research,” explained Randall. “All of the presenters on our team have learned from each other about this new and interactive way to provide information to the community. We thought there were likely others around the nation who would be interested in the topic and we are all very excited to share our experiences with planners from across the country.”

The group will present and exhibit the Dublin Ohio Community Plan, OKI’s How Do We Grow from Here?, and Kenton County’s Direction 2030 comprehensive plan. The anticipated program includes how the plans originated, technical aspects of how the websites were created, live demos of the websites and interactive maps, and time for questions from the audience.

“One of the major goals we wanted to accomplish with our Direction 2030 project was to think differently about how content was conveyed, specifically looking at the document’s finished form,” said Fausz. “We haven’t been able to find many examples of other online plans outside of the three we will be presenting so we think there is going to be a lot of interest in our session.”

Their session, No Hard Copies; Creating Web-Based Plans, will be presented as part of the American Planning Association’s “The Planning Office of the Future” series. This series examines a variety of topics that relate to the planning profession in a constantly changing world of new technologies and evolving expectations from the community.



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