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 Public Open House

Posted on June 11, 2014
Major Milestone Approaching for Kenton County’s Future

Planning for Kenton County’s future is approaching a major milestone. The area‐wide comprehensive plan, Direction 2030: Your Voice, Your Choice, is nearing completion. The citizens of Kenton County are invited to review the components of the plan a final time before a formal application is submitted to the Kenton County Planning Commission.

What: Public Open House
When: There will be two sessions on June 18, 2014; 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.   Rain Date: June 23, 2014
Where: The Clock Tower at Crestview Hills Town Center; 2791 Town Center Boulevard, Crestview Hills, KY
Why: This plan is important! The world is a different place than it was 10 years ago, and research indicates that it will continue to change. Direction 2030: Your Voice, Your Choice is a strategy to address the challenges and possibilities of the next 20 years and aimed at making Kenton County competitive in the local, national, and global economies.

Direction 2030: Your Voice, Your Choice
is a community planning initiative centered on public input. Over 70 meetings were held with the public, small groups, and business and civic leaders. From this input, several themes emerged:
  • Different generations have different, and sometimes competing, desires.
  • Different areas of the county have different needs and desires. While Direction 2030: Your Voice, Your Choice paints broad brush strokes over the entire county, more focused planning efforts are needed for the Rural, Suburban, First‐Ring Suburban, and Urban Core areas.
  • It is important to seek out ways that resources can be used more wisely and efficiently to serve the residents of Kenton County.
  • Jobs and economic competitiveness are paramount issues that need to be addressed for Kenton County to be a desirable place to live for all generations.
Direction 2030: Your Voice, Your Choice makes recommendations on eight specific elements that are important for growth in Kenton County. These recommendations are based on brand new Goals and Objectives for the county. This is the first time in over 40 years that a new set of Goals and Objectives are guiding the recommendations of the plan.

Another new concept that Direction 2030: Your Voice, Your Choice introduces is that it will be an entirely web based plan. Gone are the days of massive documents that are difficult to navigate and hard to find relevant information. The streamlined web‐based plan will make it easier for everyone to locate the information they seek without paging through a document or sifting through large PDFs.

Direction 2030: Your Voice, Your Choice is a plan that reflects the values of the residents of Kenton County. This plan is the quintessential way that residents can have a say in how local resources are used, and determine how future growth occurs in Kenton County.

More information is available on the project’s website: www.direction2030.org.

Planners prepare Direction 2030 plan for final public hearing

Posted on May 23, 2014
Nearly two years in the making and over 150 public meetings later, Kenton County’s new comprehensive plan Direction 2030: Your Voice, Your Choice is in the final stages of completion. Draft policies and recommendations are being finalized, task force comments are being discussed, outreach to legislative bodies is being undertaken, and a web-based plan is in the works.

One final public input session is also currently being discussed prior to submitting an application to the Kenton County Planning Commission for consideration in September.

Draft policies and recommendations cover eight topic areas: economy, housing, mobility, land use, environment, community facilities, utility management, and regional and subarea plans. This is the first major update since the comprehensive plan was first crafted and adopted in 1972. Several major policy changes are being considered based on changing demographics and market conditions.

The recommended land use map will include new categories of mixed use and a more generalized definition of commercial to allow for market conditions to direct land usage. Jobs were indicated as the highest priority for those that provided input throughout the process. Industrial land use policies while always aiming to seek more land for economic development also strives to bring attention to the need for infrastructure in areas reserved for these uses.

In addition, the need to provide community amenities and a wider mix of housing types to attract a talented workforce is discussed.

“This plan represents the varied viewpoints of everyone in this community,” said Paul Darpel, Chairman of the Kenton County Planning Commission. “We heard everything from the need to attract jobs, provide for good housing, protection of property rights, accommodating multi-modal options, consideration of public health, and the environment throughout this process. We have tried to capture everything and present it as a vision for Kenton County.”

The draft policies also recognize the county’s four distinct subareas for the first time and the different needs of these areas. The four subareas include urban, first ring suburbs, suburban, and rural, each contributing differently to the regional and local economy.

The plan recognizes the need to focus urban development north of Walton Nicholson Pike while preserving the heritage to the south by promoting rural development and preservation policies. Increased collaboration across jurisdictional boundaries and the need for regional thinking is also addressed.

“The recommended policies also take into account other planning efforts underway such as OKI’s strategic regional planning effort, the Kenton County transportation plan, and the South Kenton planning effort in addition to the needs and vision that local jurisdictions have for their communities. This planning process brings it all together to represent one voice for Kenton County,” said Sharmili Reddy, AICP, NKAPC’s planning manager.

Draft policies will be presented to the public in late summer and then to the Kenton County Planning Commission in early fall. More information about the project can be found at the Direction 2030 website.


Kenton County transportation plan nears June completion

Posted on May 23, 2014
OKI and NKAPC staffs began studies last summer for a new Kenton County transportation plan. The collaboration researched mobility issues, analyzed transportation data, prompted meetings with the project’s advisory team, and included input directly from the public. It is now yielding a plan with nearly 70 recommendations.

“Recent efforts to collect input on the plan were very successful,” explained Robyn Bancroft, AICP, Strategic Planning Manager for OKI. “Through our outreach efforts, coupled with promotion from NKAPC, we received almost 400 views of the draft recommendations page during April. Of those viewers, more than 60 individual comments were received from the public.”

The comments received during the comment period helped to further refine the draft recommendations and move them toward a more finalized product.

The advisory team met in early May to consider revisions based on public input. The team also worked to define the final list of projects and refine the recommendation rankings. Work is now underway to prepare the final document with an early-June target date for completion. The final plan should be available online in mid- to late-June.

Ranging from filling sidewalk gaps to improving major interstate interchanges, the recommendations cover a wide swath of mobility needs for the county’s citizens. Reconstructing the westbound I-275 interchange with I-71/75, creating the Licking River Greenway Trail, constructing a new Fourth Street Bridge, finishing the sidewalk along Dixie Highway in Covington, and building a new Edgewood Park & Ride are all multimodal recommendations found within the plan.

The preparation of this plan coincides with the Direction 2030 comprehensive planning project that is in the final phase. “Transportation is a major element of our comprehensive planning process,” explained Sharmili Reddy, AICP, NKAPC’s planning manager.

“In an effort to be good stewards of public money, we decided to combine both efforts and use the OKI-NKAPC transportation plan as the basis for our transportation recommendations in Direction 2030. We recognize that there are mobility needs beyond major roadways but the transportation plan is a good overview of the predominant needs in the county.”

You may check the NKAPC or OKI websites for more information on the transportation plan.

Direction 2030 seeks input from university population

Posted on April 11, 2014
In response to a growing concern with the exodus of well-educated people from the region, and the lack of participation in past public meetings, NKAPC planners focused a recent online survey on university populations to gauge their preferences in the character of the community in which they live. It also sought preferences on the importance of amenities available to them in the surrounding area.

Those who participated were students and educators attending Northern Kentucky University, Thomas More College, and Gateway Community and Technical College.

The results are intended to offer a snapshot of the way young people in Northern Kentucky view our area and how they assess its benefits and shortcomings as a place to live, work, and raise their families. One-hundred one people took the survey, including 47 men and 54 women.

A slight majority of participants (54) reports that they are planning to stay in Northern Kentucky, while 16 plan on moving away, stating reasons such as not enough amenities in the area or not enough employment opportunities. Thirty-one survey participants report that they are uncertain as to their future plans for leaving or remaining in the area.

The majority of participants (54) report that they prefer living in an urban setting; 29 prefer the suburbs; and 14 report that they prefer living in a rural environment.

Participants were asked to rank a series of amenities in categories of importance. Participant responses indicate that these individuals feel very strongly about the amenities listed in the survey.

Category                 Important            Unimportant
Earning potential            83%                     10%
After-hour options          88%                      7%
Green living                    68%                     17%
Walkability                      75%                     14%
Mass transit                   59%                     19%
Outdoor rec facilities     74%                     13%

Unfortunately, Northern Kentucky did not fare well in the respondents’ assessments of the area’s provision of these amenities.

Category                 Favorable             Unfavorable
Earning potential              52%                    38%
After-hour options            54%                    45%
Green living                      23%                    65%
Walkability                        24%                    71%
Mass transit                     30%                    54%
Outdoor rec facilities       47%                    44%

Results of this survey support the conclusion that young adults desire amenities such as after-hour options, walkability, and outdoor recreation facilities. To ensure that Northern Kentucky is a desirable place to live and attracts people to the area, planners, civic leaders, and government officials need to give more attention to the amenities that appeal to the vibrant, young, and highly educated people we want to attract to and retain in this area.

The information obtained through this survey will be incorporated into Direction 2030 along with other public input gleaned throughout the planning process.

Piner tornado brings people together, prompts survey

Posted on February 04, 2014
By the time a tornado struck Piner in March 2012, devastating the community and structures to the east of it, a small group of area citizens had met several times to try to bring their neighbors together. The immediate needs prompted by the Class 5 storm solidified that group’s goals and provided fuel to move it forward.

Talk of bringing neighbors and friends together was replaced quickly by actions that were more effective in helping southern Kenton County residents see the value of working together. While pursuing relief efforts, group members also sought to bring structure to residents who value individualism and privacy. The strategy worked.

As the storm’s devastation transitioned to a memory, local discussions moved on to Direction 2030, a coordinated effort by the Kenton County Planning Commission to engage as many Kenton County residents in the crafting of a new comprehensive plan for the community.

Residents got together and discussed past planning efforts and current needs. In order to get a comprehensive understanding of the area’s needs, the group decided to pursue a survey of their friends and neighbors across the southern part of the county. With the support of Kenton County Fiscal Court, NKAPC, and the Kenton County Agriculture Extension office, group members mailed approximately 3100 surveys to all households on January 10.

Three-hundred fifty responses were needed for the survey to be considered statistically significant; the community came together and returned more than a 1000 surveys.

The survey document was developed by Dr. Lori Garkovich with University of Kentucky who has extensive experience dealing with rural issues in other parts of Kentucky. Garkovich helped with a planning effort in 1996 for this part of Kenton County and has a good understanding of the community. After the survey was developed, it was shared with a group of residents for initial feedback to ensure the questions were clear and understood.

The survey includes demographic questions that will provide general information on the respondents such as how long they have lived in southern Kenton county and their reasons for moving to that part of the community.

During the preliminary planning process one of the main themes raised by residents was the need to preserve the rural heritage of the area. In order to capture the varied perceptions of rural heritage, additional questions regarding what defines rural heritage were also included in the survey so as to provide a variety of options including farms, large homes, small stores, large office buildings and retail. Also included are questions regarding respondents’ satisfaction with existing roadways, Internet access, employment centers, access to retail and residential development.

“The survey is a way for public and elected officials to understand better who we are and what our needs are,” said Bill Schneider, a resident of Cruise Creek Road in southern Kenton County. “The individual leadership that has come forth to design the survey is inspiring. We are thrilled with the huge response that shows how hungry our citizens are to be heard.”

The survey response period was closed on January 31, 2014. Staff is compiling the data that will be sent to Garkovich for analysis. Results will be available in mid-late March.

Focus groups and public meetings are being planned to seek additional input. “This is a very community- driven planning process for an area of the county that has a very strong sense of community,” said Sharmili Reddy, AICP, planning manager at NKAPC. “We are providing a service and helping the process by facilitating and bringing in resources as necessary.”

The results of the survey and information gathered from focus groups and public meetings will be used to develop policy for the southern portion of Kenton County as part of the Direction 2030 planning effort. The comprehensive plan for 40 years has promoted growth and development north of this area while encouraging the protection of the agriculture and rural nature of Southern Kenton County.

This effort will help determine if the policy is still valid or if changes need to be made to represent community desire.

All jurisdictions approve comp plan goals; staff begins text work

Posted on October 14, 2013
Kenton County’s 20 jurisdictions have come together for the first time in 41 years to adopt a unified and updated statement of goals and objectives for the Direction 2030 comprehensive plan. The previous statement of goals was adopted as part of the county’s first formal comprehensive plan. That 1972 plan has been updated numerous times over the past four decades; its goals statement has not.

One of the biggest challenges to rewriting the goals and objectives involved bringing all 20 jurisdictions together and building consensus on a common vision. Significant public engagement was pursued for over a year and a half; this included over 100 meetings with varied populations and jurisdictions to develop the new statements.

The goals and objectives that are now in place reflect the varied viewpoints of Kenton County residents and provide a foundation for the preparation of the rest of the comprehensive plan.

“When we began the process, our main goal was to listen to anyone who had an idea regarding where this county should be in 20 years,” said Paul Darpel, chairman of the Kenton County Planning Commission. “The value in this planning effort lies in bringing all of those ideas and different viewpoints together to develop something that we can all agree on.”

“NKAPC staff did a great job of keeping the Commission, elected officials, and residents updated and involved. Kenton County Planning Commission members gave many hours of their time to this effort. We’re proud of the product we put forward. Approval by the 20 jurisdictions reflects all the hard work that has gone behind this effort. ”

The adopted statement of goals and objectives will provide direction in preparing recommendations for various elements of the comprehensive that include land use, transportation, and community facilities.

Planning staff has been researching existing conditions and looking at population projections and trends for several months in preparation for the next phase of the project. This included data collection from various resources within local, regional and national organizations.

This research along with the goals and objectives will be used to produce recommendations that KCPC members will consider towards the end of the year- long process. Coordination with local jurisdictions, opportunities for public comment via an online portal, and several other tools have been planned to seek input through the rest of the process.

“Seeking public input is very challenging in today’s world,” said Dennis Gordon, FAICP, NKAPC’s executive director. “Securing it requires our professional staff to think creatively and go where people are rather than expecting them to come to us. We accomplished that during this first phase and are committed to that goal as we craft the plan’s recommendations.”

A task force will oversee preparation of the plan’s recommendations over the next six to eight months.  They will then be presented to the Kenton County Planning Commission for consideration and ultimately adoption.

More information about Direction 2030 is available on the project’s website and Facebook.


County Planning Commission OK’s new goals statement

Posted on August 15, 2013
The Kenton County Planning Commission unanimously approved a new statement of goals and objectives on July 9. Action on this all-important policy statement shifts now to Kenton County’s 20 local jurisdictions. Each has 90 days to take action on the recommended language. If a jurisdiction fails to act by October 7—the 90th day—the jurisdiction will be deemed as having approved it.

“This process has been an excellent example of our community coming together to find common ground on some of today’s most diverse issues,” said Paul Darpel, chair of the Kenton County Planning Commission (KCPC). “We hope the Planning Commission’s action paves the way for Kenton County’s first totally new comprehensive plan in over 40 years.”

The development of these goals and objectives involved extensive public input and coordination over an 18 month period. One of the most discussed topics toward the end of that timeline was that of private property rights, the single issue that dominated the June 6 public hearing before the Kenton County Planning Commission. Following over three hours of testimony that evening, the KCPC directed staff to work with those who felt that the protection of property rights hadn’t been made strong enough.

NKAPC staff invited representatives from Kenton County’s 20 local jurisdictions to a June 26 meeting to discuss two specific concerns as directed by KCPC. Several cities’ representatives had been very vocal on property rights protection during the June 6 public hearing. Nine cities attended the meeting.

Discussion during this forum dealt with two issues: the guiding principle on property rights; and, an objective stating that unnecessary and burdensome regulations should be removed to promote job creation, attraction, and retention. After much discussion, those in attendance were able to agree on the language that was presented to and approved by the KCPC on July 9th.

“Approval of this statement of goals and objectives was a huge accomplishment,” said Dennis Gordon, FAICP, executive director. “Members of the planning commission and staff have every reason to feel extremely proud. With over 80 public meetings and numerous other public engagements behind them, these individuals brought a diverse community together to discuss—and ultimately agree on—a number of critical issues facing Kenton County.”

Adoption of the statement of goals and objectives paves the way for crafting a totally new comprehensive plan for Kenton County. The plan will build on the statement of goals and objectives by providing more detailed recommendations on land use, transportation, and community facilities’ issues. It will also include data collected by staff through research and analysis on local population, housing, economics, community facilities, health, agriculture, transportation, and the environment as required by state statutes.

Crafting the new comprehensive plan is anticipated to take six to nine months and will include even more opportunities for public involvement.

Direction 2030 interviews on Local 12

Posted on May 31, 2013

On Sunday, June 2 at 11 AM, Commissioner Diane Brown and NKAPC Planning Manager will be on WKRC Local 12 Newsmakers with Dan Hurley. They will talk about Direction 2030, its goals and objectives, and specifically the Kenton County Planning Commission public hearing on June 6.
If you miss it, previously aired interviews are usually posted here: www.local12.com/content/newsmakers/default.aspx


Planning Commission schedules vote on plan’s goals

Posted on May 14, 2013
Following a public input process that began in March 2012, the Kenton County Planning Commission (KCPC) is ready to move forward on a proposed statement of goals and objectives. That proposed statement will be heard during a scheduled public hearing to be held on June 6 at 6:15 PM. As required by state law, this statement will anchor Direction 2030, Kenton County’s new comprehensive plan.

After review and recommendation by the KCPC, the statement of goals and objectives will be forwarded to each of Kenton County’s 20 legislative bodies for their consideration and action. The legislative bodies will have 90 days to take action on the KCPC proposal. This phase is anticipated to be completed in September 2013.

A preliminary draft of the statement of goals and objectives was presented at two public meetings held last October. Staff received over 180 comments on the draft which was then reviewed by the Direction 2030 task force. The task force’s responses to all of the comments as well as the final draft are posted on the project website.

This public input fostered creation of four guiding principles that will assist decision makers in using the goals and objectives effectively. Each covers a broad topic that was raised during the public engagement process.

One of these topics covers the protection of property rights. Research on other comprehensive plans locally, regionally, and nationally indicates that several communities have addressed private property rights in their comprehensive plans. The Direction 2030 task force discussed this topic and subsequently directed staff to work with concerned cities to draft language for their consideration. As a result, property rights have been added as a guiding principle.

The draft statement includes nine goals which will serve as the basis for completion of the required elements of the comprehensive plan:
  • encouraging a variety of housing options for all generations and incomes;
  • creating and maintaining places that draw talent;
  • retaining, attracting, and creating jobs;
  • celebrating the unique identity of our communities;
  • promoting a healthy lifestyle;
  • enhancing the transportation system;
  • providing access to natural systems;
  • balancing development and preservation; and
  • encouraging cooperative governance.
“This has been an important step in the process and we are very pleased with the level of participation from our legislative bodies and the community,” said Paul Darpel, Chairman of the Kenton County Planning Commission. “The draft as it stands accomplishes the task of representing the community’s voice and hopefully our cities will see it that way as well.”

More work being pursued on Direction 2030 goals

Posted on March 14, 2013
Staff fanned out across Kenton County in January and February to present the final draft statement of goals and objectives to the community’s 20 local elected bodies. While most of those groups provided positive feedback, four cities asked staff to work with their economic development/zoning committees for a more in-depth review.

These responses indicated a strong desire for the statement of goals and objectives to address property rights. As a result, staff presented draft language on property rights to the Direction 2030 task force in February. That updated version of the statement now includes property rights language in the guiding principles which apply to all goals and objectives.

“We’re glad that cities and local organizations are providing feedback prior to submittal of the finished product to the county planning commission. This gives us a chance to address issues on the front end, before it becomes cumbersome to address them from a countywide perspective.  All 20 of our jurisdictions must adopt goals and objectives,” said Paul Darpel, Kenton County Planning Commission chairman.

In the meantime, the Direction 2030 task force has worked to address the 182 comments received to date on the draft. Several changes have been made based on those comments, and a response to each will be posted on the project website when the review is complete.  A research report is also being compiled, as required by state statute, which specifies that elements of the comprehensive plan be based on research, analysis, and projections. This report is being compiled by collaborating with multiple agencies across Northern Kentucky to access the best data available.

“After all concerns with the statement of goals and objectives are addressed, we’ll submit an application to the Kenton County Planning Commission.  We hope to do that in April for a public hearing and action in May,” said Sharmili Reddy, AICP, NKAPC planning manager.

Kenton County’s 20 legislative bodies will have 90 days to take action on the planning commission’s recommendation. Adoption of the statement of goals and objectives and completion of the research report will pave the way for preparation of the individual required comprehensive plan elements. This second phase will include recommendations for land use, transportation, community facilities, and natural resources. It will also provide further guidance on how to achieve the adopted goals and objectives.

The second phase is anticipated to be completed by December 2013.
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