Planning & Zoning

News and updates involving zoning changes and small area studies in Kenton County. NO Image:
  • Zoning Ordinances
  • VFPR
  • Zoning for the 21st Century

Latonia residents continue small area study implementation efforts

Posted on September 01, 2016

Residents, business leaders, and Covington officials embarked on creating a new plan for the Latonia neighborhood in November 2009. The plan they finalized in early 2011 was crafted with implementation as a key recommendation for moving forward.

The Strategic Action Committee still meets monthly to discuss the plan’s objectives and move its recommendations into reality.

“The Committee has done a lot of great things over the years to implement the plan,” said Kate Esarey Greene, Program Manager for Community Development with The Center for Great Neighborhoods of Covington. “From building a new park at Latonia Elementary to strategic façade improvement programs to National Register of Historic Places designations, the Committee has constantly sought to move the neighborhood, and the plan forward.”

The plan was crafted by a community-driven endeavor which was managed by PDS throughout 2010. The Latonia Small Area Study became a formal part of the county’s comprehensive plan in February 2011. Since that time the written recommendations have been brought to life with citizen engagement, management by the Center for Great Neighborhoods, and assistance from PDS and city officials.

“The Latonia study was my first large-scale project to manage,” explained James Fausz, AICP, a senior planner for PDS. “One of the things I enjoyed the most was meeting people from the neighborhood and helping them focus their efforts to make their community even better. It was a pleasure working with them to craft the plan and it has been even more rewarding seeing the plan’s success through working with the Strategic Action Committee.”

Donna Horine, a lifelong Latonia resident, study Task Force member, and original member of the Strategic Action Committee explained, “We [the Committee] have had the chance to do some really fun things to help implement the plan.”

“I think a lot of the projects have helped make people more aware of Latonia and what it has to offer. Things like the video, working with local Realtors on what Latonia is about, and even the 5k bringing people into the community have helped us move the area forward from the plan we made a few years back,” she said.

While much has been accomplished, there is still more work needed to implement the plan fully. Longer term recommendations like redeveloping the Latonia Plaza Shopping Center, increasing tree canopy coverage to aid in reducing stormwater runoff, and improving east-west mobility south of the study area to reduce freight traffic will likely take many years and the continued efforts of interested citizens to move forward.

If you would like to get involved with the Strategic Action Committee or find out more about its activities, contact Kate Esarey Greene with The Center for Great Neighborhoods or call her at 859.547.5552.

The Latonia Strategic Action Committee meets the 4th Thursday of each month at 6:00 PM at the Latonia Christian Church. Guests are always welcomed.

Planners pursuing downtown parking study/plan for Ludlow

Posted on July 29, 2016
Ludlow Administrator Elishia Chamberlain, Mayor Kenneth Wynn, and City Council have worked hard over the last few years to market and redevelop Ludlow’s downtown commercial district. They’ve also developed a concern that inadequate parking in the downtown area may hinder additional growth. So, the city has partnered with PDS’ planners to study existing and potential parking needs within the business district.
 
“Ludlow has a great opportunity to grow within existing storefronts and buildings,” commented Emi Randall, AICP, RLS, PDS’ director of planning and zoning. “The city’s charming and affordable housing stock and overall proximity to world-class amenities in downtown Cincinnati make it an ideal candidate for businesses looking to start, relocate, or expand. Our team is working with the city to help identify areas that could help these businesses succeed through expanded parking options.”

The Ludlow downtown business district located along Elm Street (KY 8) features unmarked on-street parking on both sides of the street, with a few limited private parking lots for individual businesses. The city has asked PDS to study the business district and surrounding area to determine if public parking lots are warranted, and where potential parking opportunities may exist.

The study will estimate the parking needs of existing businesses and residents along Elm Street as well as the potential future needs should all available storefronts become occupied. Through the study, PDS staff will explore alternative parking arrangements along Elm Street, and make recommendations for these.

Staff will also look for other off-street parking options like shared lots or even the potential for new lots within the downtown business district. PDS staff will provide the city with recommendations on the most feasible and desirable locations for any proposed additional parking.

With this study, the city hopes to identify several opportunities for off-street parking lots of various sizes. Work on this study is underway and will continue through late August. The city will utilize the study to make strategic capital investments to construct parking lots desired to enable the continued redevelopment of their historic business district. 

Elsmere Council approves move to greater One Stop Shop services

Posted on July 29, 2016
Elsmere City Council and PDS entered into an expanded level of services agreement effective July 5th that delegates all the city’s building codes administration responsibilities to PDS. Until recently, PDS pursued only non-residential building codes work.

“When our long-time building inspector retired, it made sense to move our building permitting and inspections to PDS,” Mayor Marty Lenhof said.  “I know that PDS will continue to provide great service in the manner that Elsmere residents expect.”

 “We’re pleased to be able to provide more services to the city,” said Dennis Gordon, FAICP, executive director. “We’ve built a good relationship with Elsmere residents. This expansion of services will help us strengthen it.”

As it is with other One Stop Shop program communities, filing code enforcement complaints, seeking information about building or electric inspections, and searching for a property’s zoning classification is one phone call away. PDS can be reached at 859.331.8980 between 8 and 5 Monday through Friday. Considerable information in this regard is also available on the PDS website and the One Stop Shop website.

“The One Stop Shop program has helped a number of cities increase service levels for their citizens and reduce costs since 2005. We’re looking forward to providing more of those benefits to Elsmere and its citizens,” concluded Gordon.

Food Summit provides public with healthy food input

Posted on June 07, 2016

Eat Healthy NKY held its inaugural Food Summit on March 28th at Turkey Foot Middle School, showcasing healthy eating habits, local food production, and food preparation from across the region. Over 250 people attended the free, family-friendly event that featured 25 information booths covering a wide variety of topics important to our local food system—from production and distribution to consumption and food waste.

“We were really excited about this event,” said Michael Ionna, AICP, a principal planner at PDS. “Not only did it allow us to raise awareness and educate the public about the impacts of food and nutrition on healthy communities, it also allowed us to get input from attendees about what specific food issues are most important to them.”

If you are interested in learning more about healthy and local food initiatives in this region, visit and like the Eat Healthy NKY Facebook page which also features information about "next steps" events. At these events you will be able to provide input about food issues important to you as well as network with other individuals interested in creating positive change to our food system, all while eating some delicious chow.

“The goal is to begin initial conversations about creating a network, or coalition of individuals, groups, and organizations who have an interest in creating healthier communities in our region,” said Ionna.

The Food Summit was sponsored by Eat Healthy NKY, an outreach campaign to educate members of the public about healthy food options, and the Kenton County Plan4Health Coalition.

To learn more about this initiative, click here.

 


House Bill 422 means big changes for local code enforcement

Posted on June 07, 2016

House Bill 422—an act relating to local code enforcement—was signed into law by Governor Matt Bevin on April 9th; the bill’s provisions take effect January 1, 2017. With this bill come several important changes to the code enforcement process across the commonwealth. PDS staff are working diligently to make sure each of the cities who depend on PDS for code enforcement are prepared for Day 1 of the new regulations.

“We’re pleased that this bill made it through this year’s session,” stated Dennis Gordon, FAICP, executive director of PDS. “Our code inspection program has come a long way over the past ten years but it’s been limited in what it can accomplish due to the fragmented structure of Kentucky Revised Statutes (KRS) as it’s codified today. This bill changes all that.”

First, the bill consolidates code enforcement provisions, including nuisance codes, under one chapter, KRS 65.8801 to 66.8839. Under the current scheme, provisions can be found in KRS 82.700 to 82.725 (abatement of nuisances), KRS 381.770 (abatement of nuisance) and KRS 65.8801 to 65.8839 (code enforcement boards).

This consolidation clarifies the authority of code enforcement boards to enforce all civil offences, including zoning and nuisance codes. In addition, the new law authorizes code enforcement boards to fulfill the duties of a vacant property review commission, to review and certify vacant properties as blighted or deteriorated.

Second, the bill extends lien priority provisions to all code enforcement violations, including civil and zoning code violations, not just nuisance code violations. Code enforcement liens will take precedence over all other liens, except state, county, school board and city taxes. However, in order to obtain and maintain this lien priority, local governments must implement a system for notification to lienholders and allow lienholders a timeframe to remediate or abate violations.

Newly created KRS 65.8801 to 65.8839 requires the creation of a lienholder notification system, or registry, to allow lienholders to receive information on final orders and requires the local government to send out an electronic mail notification on a monthly basis to those who have registered to receive notifications. Under the legislation adopted by the General Assembly, the lienholder has 45 days from the date of notification to correct the violation or elect to pay fines.

PDS will provide the lienholder registry service for its joint code enforcement board jurisdictions to ensure compliance with the new legislation. PDS will also pursue this as an opportunity to combine the administration of the lienholder registry with the administration of a Vacant Foreclose Property Registry, for better communication and increased compliance for properties during the foreclosure process.

PDS initiated its current code enforcement program in late 2005 with nine jurisdictions. Since then, the program has grown to include service to 15 jurisdictions and staff support to five code enforcement boards. One of those boards—the Kenton County Joint Code Enforcement Board—serves 11 jurisdictions.

“These changes to state law will certainly help us support local property owners who seek an end to code violations in their neighborhoods,” said Gordon. “The changes will also give code enforcement boards the ability to pursue a number of different violations for their communities so long as they’re considered civil cases. That’s certainly going to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of these local boards.”

Stay tuned for more information from PDS on these changes in services to be provided.


Planners pick up national award for Direction 2030 plan

Posted on June 07, 2016

PDS’ planning and zoning director Emi Randall, AICP, RLA, and senior planner James Fausz, AICP, brought home a very special souvenir from the recent National Planning Conference of the American Planning Association (APA): a national award for the county’s recently-adopted comprehensive plan.

Direction 2030: Your Voice. Your Choice—was the 2016 recipient of a national Award of Excellence in the Comprehensive Plan – Large Jurisdiction category. The award was 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 was presented 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 county’s comprehensive plan.

“The award recognizes the hard work by members of the planning commission, citizens and interest groups from across Kenton County, and of course staff who put in countless months on the project. This plan was truly a collaborative effort,” said Gordon.

The Kenton County Planning Commission adopted the community’s first comprehensive plan in 1972 and incorporated updates every five years thereafter according to Kentucky law. The combined 26.2-pound, 12.5-inch-thick behemoth influenced land use decisions until the Great Recession established a ‘New Normal.’

The diverse group of participants developed its replacement—Direction 2030: Your Voice. Your Choice.—through an aggressive three-year public engagement process. That process accomplished what many thought previously would be impossible: to build consensus among all 20 of the county’s local governments, their 126 elected officials, and their 20 planning commission members.

They grounded the plan in research provided by a national market analyst, most of it from sources bankers use for reviewing development-financing strategies. This established the plan as a unique resource for near-term development proposals and a baseline for state-mandated five-year updates.

Stakeholders played a critical role in crafting a number of its innovative policies. Their opposition to broad recommendations prompted planners to divide the county into four subareas—urban, firstring suburb, suburban, and rural—to reflect the community’s diversity. Policies are based now on the differing lifestyles found across these subareas.

The participants advocated for an easy-to-use final product. Planners responded with an online comprehensive plan (direction2030.org) that documents the plan’s creation, delivers guidance to anyone anywhere 24/7/365, and incorporates GIS technologies to entice users to interact with its contents.

The groups also called for accountability to assure that the plan’s objectives would be implemented. The PDS staff 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. There are two types of awards, Awards of Excellence and Awards of Merit. There are seven categories of awards; Planning Project, Comprehensive Plan – Large Jurisdiction, Comprehensive Plan – Small Jurisdiction, Best Practices, Grass Roots Initiative, Small Area/Special Area Planning, and Special Focus Planning Initiative – Senior Livability.

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!”


Villa Hills encourages new development through small area study

Posted on June 07, 2016

Adoption of Direction 2030, the county’s award-winning comprehensive plan, didn’t end PDS’ efforts to plan for the county’s future; it focused it on new goals and objectives. The current Villa Hills study is an in-depth analysis of the St. Walburg Monastery property in Villa Hills and a case in point. When complete, the small area plan will provide detailed recommendations for this undeveloped portion of the city and amend the comprehensive plan’s recommended land use map.

PDS staff began the planning effort earlier this year on behalf of the Benedictine Sisters of Covington, Kentucky, Inc. and the City of Villa Hills. The sisters, who have been a presence on the same site in Villa Hills for over 110 years, have recently been contemplating their retirement funding.

While they intend to stay on a large part of their property, they are preparing to sell approximately 80 mostly-vacant acres. They decided early in their deliberations to plan for the future rather than just putting a “for sale” sign out on the street; they want to provide a long-lasting contribution to the community.

“We have a great opportunity right now to do something special for the city and its residents,” explained Sr. Mary Catherine Wenstrup, Prioress of St. Walburg Monastery. “While selling a portion of our property is going to fund our retirement, we want to do so in a way that is beneficial to the city and our neighbors. After all, we’re staying here so whatever happens to the west of us impacts our lives as well.”

PDS staff began in January to research existing conditions on the site and manage the overall study. At the same time, efforts began with two additional studies to research specific aspects of the site. A market consultant was selected to look at the site’s potential for various types of land uses and determine which had the most potential for success in the community.

Likewise, a transportation study was initiated to examine existing conditions of the community’s roadways and plan for potential upgrades that might be needed.

A public meeting was held recently to inform the public of the research conducted to date and converse with attendees regarding their concerns and ideas for the future of the site. The meeting, held on May 9th at River Ridge Elementary School, was attended by approximately 250 people that wanted to learn more about the study.

“We had a great turnout for the meeting,” commented James Fausz, AICP, a PDS senior planner and project manager for the study. “In all my years with PDS we’ve never had the kind of attendance we received for this meeting. We’re very fortunate that so many people care about what’s going on in their community and came out to learn and provide input.”

Currently, staff is working to sort through hundreds of responses provided during the meeting. Those will then be taken to the task force overseeing the project for its consideration as the study moves forward into the recommendations phase. A second public meeting is anticipated later this summer to provide details about the plan’s recommendations.

If you are interested in learning more about the project and getting updates about its progress, visit the project’s website or the city’s website.


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!”


Officials work toward countywide foreclosed property registration

Posted on March 04, 2016

PDS staff, working closely with the Kenton County Attorney’s staff, is proposing a county-wide foreclosed vacant properties registration ordinance. If approved by the Fiscal Court, the ordinance would increase the efficiency and effectiveness of code enforcement throughout Kenton County.

The resulting registry would save tax dollars for Kenton County’s 20 local jurisdictions by requiring properties that are in the foreclosure process to name a responsible party to maintain the vacant property. It would also go a long way toward precluding frustrations felt by owners of properties neighboring foreclosed sites, according to Dennis Gordon, FAICP, PDS’ executive director.

Vacant foreclosed properties drag down property values in otherwise well-kept neighborhoods. An estimated 1,100 properties throughout Kenton County were in foreclosure during 2015. Most of these properties sat vacant and unmaintained through all or part of the foreclosure process. The proposed ordinance provides code enforcement officials with a mechanism to require that these properties be maintained to reasonable standards while in foreclosure.

PDS staff provides code enforcement staff for 16 of Kenton County’s 20 local governments. Although the other four pursue other means for code enforcement within their jurisdictions, they would still benefit from the proposed ordinance since its coverage would be countywide.

Foreclosed vacant properties registration ordinances have been proven a useful tool for other communities both in the metro region and across the country. In developing the proposed ordinance, PDS staff sought information from communities which have adopted vacant property registration programs.

“The benefit at the office level is allowing faster turnaround times for property clean up,” said Joseph Parson, Planning/Building Inspector for the City of Morehead, which enacted a vacant property registration ordinance in 2011.

The City of Cincinnati issued a report two years after adopting that city’s vacant foreclosed property registration which details the changes in code enforcement effectiveness before and after adoption. It states that prior to adoption of the ordinance, an estimated 20 to 30 percent of foreclosed properties degraded in condition during the foreclosure period. Within the first year after adoption, only ten percent of foreclosed properties degraded in condition. That number dropped to 4.5 percent in the second year of enforcement. Those are “compelling numbers” according to Gordon.

The cost of administering the proposed ordinance will fall entirely to the banks and lending institutions responsible for maintenance of these foreclosed properties. Registration will also reduce costs related to code enforcement activities by increasing staff efficiency in dealing with vacant, foreclosed properties.

“Requiring a local contact for these properties will allow us to contact a person who has the authority to address issues such as tall grass or maintenance violations in a timely manner” says Rob Himes, PDS’ codes administrator. “Under the current system, code enforcement officials’ only option is to mail a violation letter to a faraway lending institution, which rarely yield results.” 

At the request of Kenton County Fiscal Court, PDS has reached out to the municipalities to determine if this ordinance would be of benefit to them.

Contact Emi Randall, Director of Planning & Zoning Administration, or Rob Himes, Codes Administrator, at 859.331.8980 for more information.

Regional ‘Food Summit’ to bring groups together on healthy food issues

Posted on March 04, 2016

Save the date Monday, March 28th! Eat Healthy NKY is holding a Food Summit at Turkey Foot Middle School from 3:00 to 8:00 PM showcasing healthy eating habits, local food production, and food preparation in our region.

“We’re really excited to be organizing this event,” said Michael Ionna, AICP, a PDS principal planner.  “Our guests can expect an open house with information booths covering a wide variety of topics important to our local food system—from production and distribution to consumption and food waste.”

The summit will cover several topics like how to eat healthy on the go, where to purchase local food, the benefits school and community gardens, and what is food policy and how can it improve our community’s quality of life. Speakers and panel discussions will be featured throughout the event.

“Attendees should plan on bringing their appetites,” explained Emi Randall, AICP, PDS’ director of planning and zoning. “Part of what we want people to see is that eating healthier can include eating delicious food. The cuisine provided will highlight food production in our region utilizing a variety of ingredients and products produced by local artisans and farmers.”

The event is also family friendly. A kids’ zone will be available from 5:00 to 8 PM and will feature a variety of fun activities including a seed starting booth hosted by the UK Agriculture Extension Office. Additionally, the Northern Kentucky Health Department’s mascot will be at the event and guests are encouraged to let the world know they are at the event!

“We have a full slate of events scheduled for the evening so no matter when you attend there will be something exciting going on,” Ionna continued. “Ultimately, the goal of the event is to reach as many people as possible and provide them with a positive experience where they can educate themselves about food system issues and of course, enjoy some tasty chow while doing so!”

Full details for the event and registration is available online at this Evenbrite.com webpage. Because of the large turnout expected, space is limited so make sure that you reserve your place by registering early.

The event is being sponsored by Eat Healthy NKY, an outreach campaign to educate members of the public about healthy food options. To learn more about this initiative, click here.
Page 3 of 5First   Previous   1  2  [3]  4  5  Next   Last