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:

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.



Urban residents, groups gear up for Direction 2030 implementation

Posted on March 02, 2015
Efforts to implement Direction 2030, Kenton County’s new comprehensive plan, are currently underway in the urban subarea of the county. The urban subarea is one of four such areas identified within Direction 2030 as having a distinct development character and associated needs. It is the second subarea targeted for implementation by PDS staff. Other subareas are rural, suburban, and first-ring suburban.

Implementation will kick off with a series of meetings with city staff, local officials, and representatives from agencies and organizations in the urban project area which includes Ludlow, Bromley, and the urban areas of Covington.

While the project has just begun recently, the primary objectives have been set. They are to focus on action-oriented tasks which directly implement the recommendations of Direction 2030. The urban areas of Kenton County currently contain a number of agencies and organizations whose missions revolve around fostering better communities. Initial work includes meeting with stakeholders to identify those areas of implementation that would accelerate redevelopment efforts within the urban core.

“The momentum that has been generated by redevelopment projects coupled with increased demand for space within urban area provides a backdrop for building a dynamic area,” said Michael Ionna, AICP, principal planner for PDS and project manager for urban implementation efforts. “We believe this can help initiate a true live, work, and play environment.”

Ionna asserts further that the subarea process allows staff to work on those key projects, across jurisdictions that will assist in creating a strong urban core.”

The initial life of the urban subarea project is anticipated to last between six to eight months. Following this phase of the project, staff will begin work on planning processes and collaborative efforts to implement solutions which provide the greatest impact to the residents of the urban subarea.

Efforts are currently underway to create a website that will provide information on all Direction 2030-related implementation efforts including those in the urban subarea and is anticipated to be launched in mid-March.

Direction 2030 implementation efforts re-engaging citizens and groups

Posted on February 02, 2015
Work on implementing Direction 2030—Kenton County’s new comprehensive plan—is now underway. Four months since its formal adoption, the plan’s vision is providing the driving force for bringing the community together again. The difference is on the focus, with implementation being the goal.

Direction 2030 identified unique needs within each of Kenton County’s four sub-areas: urban, first ring suburbs, suburban, and rural. The first area of focus for implementation is the rural sub-area. The initiative taken by the residents of southern Kenton County during preparation of the plan offered a natural progression into immediate implementation.
 
The South Kenton Citizens Group has organized itself around four committees that will each address one of the plan’s topics. These committees were formed in October, immediately following adoption of Direction 2030. Their goals are to pursue research and find creative ways for implementation. The topics being addressed by these committees are roads, utilities, zoning, and agricultural education and marketing. Each committee includes seven to ten residents from the area.

“The committees will get together soon to share ideas and then continue to work individually on their assigned issues. By fall every committee will have a good handle on the specific strategies that should be pursued for each of the four topic areas,” said Edward Dietrich, AICP, principal planner with PDS and project manager for rural sub-area efforts.

The zoning committee, for example, is analyzing whether zoning currently in place is effective in preserving the rural heritage of southern Kenton County. Members are also researching ways in which other communities have handled rural zoning. At the end of the process—after input from the larger community—they will focus on implementing a specific strategy that will promote the policies established by Direction 2030 for the rural sub-area.

 “We are a very active group of citizens who care deeply about our rural community. We knew it was important to get involved in the planning phase to make our voices heard. Now we are organizing ourselves around what needs to be accomplished in terms of implementation,” said Kathy Donohoue, a resident of southern Kenton County.

Partner organizations including the Northern Kentucky Water District and the Northern Kentucky Area Development District are working with PDS staff to support the group in its efforts.

Implementation efforts in the urban sub-area are anticipated to begin in late January. These efforts will be tailored specifically towards the topics of interest to urban residents and pursued through a planning process that works for the urban core.

Direction 2030 adoption prompts terminology changes in zoning ordinances

Posted on January 26, 2015
Adoption of the Direction 2030 comprehensive plan in September marked the beginning of efforts to implement it. Almost immediately, several zoning text modifications needed to be made to each of Kenton County’s 20 zoning ordinances to reflect terminology that changed in the new plan.

Key terms such as ‘urban service area’ and ‘physically restrictive development area’ have been used in Kenton County’s planning documents and zoning ordinances for decades. Direction 2030 established new terminology for these terms following calls from the community to develop new terms more reflective of the policies. Consistent terminology between the comprehensive plan and zoning ordinances is necessary to avoid confusion in administration.

Last month, the Kenton County Planning Commission approved a favorable recommendation on four zoning text amendments that are required to bring the zoning ordinance of each of Kenton County’s 20 jurisdictions into compliance with Direction 2030.

The first relates to physically restrictive development area (PRDA). This terminology was modified to developmentally sensitive area (DSA) in the comprehensive plan. References to PRDA occured mostly in the hillside related regulations and will be referenced as DSA moving forward. The intent behind this policy is to alert developers of land that may be sensitive to development based on the presence of certain geologic characteristics. During the public process, the new term was determined to be more reflective of this intent.

The second modification is related to the term ‘urban service area’. This was modified to include two terms—‘urban/suburban focus area’ and ‘rural focus area’. Again, this is reflective of conversations pursued with the community during the comprehensive plan process.

The changing nature of agricultural operations in the county requires a certain level of service. Infrastructure such as internet and cell service is vital in keeping up with modern technology used in agriculture particularly as it relates to agritourism. The new policy promotes the idea of focusing on the specific needs of each area rather than looking at services for the county as a whole.

The third and fourth requests, while not related to Direction 2030 require changes to be made to all zoning ordinances. NKAPC changed its name to Planning and Development Services of Kenton County (PDS) in July. Every zoning ordinance assigns certain responsibilities to staff and refers to NKAPC. The new name of the agency will now be reflected in ordinances following this change.

The fourth request pertains to clearly assigning the floodplain administrator in each jurisdiction.

“These amendments were anticipated during the final stages of the comprehensive plan process,” said Sharmili Reddy, AICP, PDS’ planning manager. “We’re working with our 20 legislative bodies now to act on these changes fairly soon to avoid any confusion.”

Direction2030.org provides interactive maps for those with questions

Posted on December 01, 2014
Direction 2030, Kenton County’s first completely new comprehensive plan since 1972 and PDS’ first completely digital comprehensive plan was adopted three months ago. If you haven’t yet visited the website, take a few minutes to learn more about the vision for the community and interact with the electronic plan.

The online format allows users to navigate easily through the entire comprehensive plan in a way that was not possible previously using a hardcopy plan.

One of the more exciting features incorporated with the Direction 2030 website is the addition of interactive maps that correspond with the plan’s different elements. Each map was customized to incorporate geographic features important to the element of the comprehensive plan they are supporting. Users can navigate in and around Kenton County and simply click on features in the map to find out more information.

The Direction 2030 website marks the first time PDS has incorporated interactive mapping directly into an adopted plan or study. PDS has used similar technology in the past on the LINK-GIS website. This new approach, however, combines new mapping technology with a completely digital plan. The final product enables planners to reach a broader audience and empower the people of Kenton County to learn more about what the comprehensive plan means to them and their community.
 
“Our primary goal with the web-based plan was to use the power of technology to create a user-friendly experience for a plan that can otherwise be daunting,” explained Sharmili Reddy, AICP, planning manager for PDS and project manager for the comprehensive plan. “For instance, if you’re interested in learning more about the location of parks in the Community Facilities element of the plan, you can use the map feature, zoom into different areas, and get more information about the park, all on the same page.”

While users can view the embedded map with the associated text, there are more features just a click away. A link to a larger interactive map is available under the embedded maps on the website. Clicking the link for the larger interactive map opens a full screen sized map that not only provides the user a larger view but also offers the ability to turn layers on and off and measure features on the map.
 
In total there are ten interactive maps embedded in the comprehensive plan that include topics ranging from Environment to the Economy and everything in between.  

Visit www.direction2030.org to interact with the maps and learn more about Kenton County’s revolutionary new plan.

Direction 2030 plan adopted 19-0; effort begins to implement it

Posted on November 06, 2014

After 40 years of amendments to its 1972 edition, Kenton County has a brand new comprehensive plan. The Kenton County Planning Commission unanimously approved the new plan titled Direction 2030: Your Voice, Your Choice on September 4. The new plan was created after seven public meetings and over 110 small group meetings over a period of two years.

Direction 2030
is based on a new statement of goals and objectives and is the first web-based plan in the metro region. Adoption of the plan not only paves the way for newer considerations to be taken into account during the development process, it also encourages greater community conversation within each of the plan’s four designated subareas - urban, first-ring, suburban, and rural.

Direction 2030 includes recommendations that take into consideration the demographic shifts that are happening, the comments we heard from residents, and the processes we need to look at with a fresh perspective,” said Martin Scribner, AICP, Director of Planning and Zoning at PDS. “Now that the plan is adopted, we’re gearing up to focus our efforts on implementation.”

Two primary projects under consideration include implementation by subarea and evaluating zoning changes needed to bring regulations into compliance with the new comprehensive plan.

The subarea process was built into Direction 2030 based on the recognition that each area of the county has unique needs. The focus in the urban area will be to strengthen the vitality of the urban core through historic preservation, infill development on vacant and underutilized properties, and to build upon the strong sense of neighborhood and community.

The goal in the rural area will be to preserve and enhance the viability of the rural heritage, to encourage the preservation of the rural character, and to remove barriers to support local agricultural operations.

“Our subarea processes will be action-oriented within each of the four areas. This effort will allow us to work with residents, cities, and other partners to prioritize the recommendations made in Direction 2030 and focus on implementation.” said Sharmili Reddy, AICP, Planning Manager at PDS.

Direction 2030
also revamped several land use related policies based on community needs. Implementation of these policies will require a re-evaluation of Kenton County’s many zoning ordinances. Land use categories such as mixed use were introduced for the first time in the comprehensive plan to promote the mixture of uses and recognize the flexibility needed to react to market conditions. Each of the 20 cities within Kenton County has their own zoning code which will need to be evaluated for compliance with Direction 2030.

Both projects – subarea implementation and zoning code evaluation, are slated to begin next month.


Kenton County comprehensive plan has been approved

Posted on September 08, 2014

The Kenton County Planning Commission last week did what none of its predecessors had done since 1972. It adopted a totally new comprehensive plan complete with a new statement of goals and objectives. Called Direction 2030: Your Voice Your Choice, the plan can be accessed here.

In addition to being totally new in content, Direction 2030 is being presented in a totally new format. 

"It is not a printed document," said Dennis Gordon, FAICP, executive director of Planning and Development Services of Kenton County (PDS). PDS is staff to the Kenton County Planning Commission.

"It’s an interactive, web-based site. Everything you want to know about the process, the goals and objectives established early on in the process and then the structure built on top of those goals, it's all there. It's a pretty robust site."

The website also includes interactive land use maps which let the user find answers to questions on a site-specific level. 

Gordon said printed copies of a comprehensive plan could cost as high as $200 each. Instead, the technology-based version will be accessible to citizens and potential developers looking to familiarize themselves with the county's planning goals and objectives.


Direction 2030 text is complete; community public hearing next

Posted on August 15, 2014

The three-year effort to develop a new comprehensive plan for Kenton County--Direction 2030: Your Voice, Your Choice--is complete. The recommendations and associated tasks has been finalized and reviewed by the task force; work on the web-based plan is being wrapped up and preparation of necessary documentation is underway for presentation to the Kenton County Planning Commission (KCPC). That hearing will take place on the evening of September 4th.

State statutes require a public hearing be held prior to action and adoption of the comprehensive plan to allow one last review and public comment.

“This comprehensive plan boasts a brand new set of goals and objectives, after functioning under the same ones for 40 years,” said Paul Darpel, KCPC chairman. “The new plan provides a roadmap and a list of planning priorities for Kenton County. But the most important aspect of this three-year process is that it provided everyone multiple opportunities to participate; and engaged community leaders, residents and elected officials in capacities like never before. We are also excited about the final product that has been produced which is completely web-based – one that may be the first of its kind in the region.”

Comprehensive planning is required to be carried out every five years in Kentucky. A comprehensive plan must be in place to enact zoning and subdivision regulations.

“We take this process very seriously and invest time into it not so much because it is required by state statute. We undertake this because it gives us a chance to interact with the people we serve – the residents of Kenton County. There are so many thoughts and opinions about the future of Kenton County in terms of planning needs; this was a great way to bring it all together,” concluded Dennis Gordon, FAICP, PDS’ executive director.

More information about the project can be found at the Direction 2030 website.


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