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Dennis Gordon receives a lifetime achievement award in professional planning.

Posted on July 27, 2020

The Kentucky chapters of the American Planning Association (KAPA) honored retired PDS Executive Director Dennis Andrew Gordon for his forty-five years in community planning.

"I want to thank Dennis Gordon for his many years of service and dedication to PDS. He has been a great leader for planning and zoning in Kenton County. Congratulations on your retirement,” said Crestview Hills Mayor Paul Meier.

On Friday, July 24th, Mr. Gordon received the William Bowdy Award, an award named after his predecessor at PDS who served as the executive director at PDS from 1970 to 2002.

Mr. Gordon has written numerous published articles and spoken to countless national, state, and local groups on topics such as citizen engagement, zoning flexibility, and planning for community growth throughout his tenure.

After years as the executive director of Allen County (IN) Department of Planning Services and an adjunct urban planning professor at Ball State University, he began his role as the executive director of the Northern Kentucky Area Planning Commission, now called Planning and Development Services of Kenton County (PDS), in 2002.

Upon his arrival at PDS he introduced an agency-wide mission statement and core values to help set a clear direction for staff.  

Among the numerous new programs Mr. Gordon initiated, PDS staff redeveloped Kenton County’s comprehensive plan, which was the very first such plan in the nation to only exist online.

Mr. Gordon could have just been satisfied with the status quo, but instead he challenged his teams to think differently and boldly with the services that were offered.

 

Pictured: Dennis Gordon giving his acceptance speech via phone during KAPA's annual meeting, which was conducted online due to COVID-19 protocols.

 

 



Engineering, GIS staffs collaborate on asset inventories

Posted on June 29, 2020

PDS’ infrastructure inspection and GIS staffs completed and delivered two asset inventory projects recently. The Erlanger project was comprehensive in nature, requiring an inspector to walk 120 miles of city sidewalk and curb to record the GPS coordinates of every pavement failure along with its type and severity. The inspector also pursued a pavement condition assessment for 60 miles of street while walking them. The project took three months to complete.

The Villa Hills project was the first of four annual installments. Like the Erlanger effort, this project required an inspector to walk 18 miles of sidewalk and curb to record the GPS coordinates of each pavement failure along with its type and severity. This project took one month to complete.

PDS’ GIS staff took these data, plotted the location of each failure on a map, created an electronic dashboard as a means for city personnel to interact with the data, and served up the deliverable to the city. Each GPS point on the map ties to an electronic database of ratings: Very Good; Good; Fair; Poor; and Very Poor to classify pavement condition.

“These two projects illustrate the in-house collaboration that takes place everyday at PDS,” said Dennis Gordon, executive director. “It’s been 60 years since the General Assembly authorized this organization and staff continues to provide the ‘more efficient planning operation’ that legislators envisioned.”

Inventories like these are undertaken generally during winter months when street and sidewalk construction is slow. In the past, staff from these two departments have collaborated on similar projects for Covington, Park Hills, Elsmere, and Kenton County.


Click image for a larger view

 



Offices open to public now; services still available online

Posted on June 15, 2020

PDS’ offices in the Kenton County Government Center are open to the public now. In-house staffing levels continue to be guided by Governor Andy Beshear’s executive orders. All services assigned to PDS by state law, interlocal agreements, partnerships, and contracts for professional services will remain available online through our return and beyond.

We extend these procedures that have been in place since March 16th to protect the well being of our customers and maintain the health of our staff and their families.

Applicants for most of our review processes may continue to submit required paperwork and fees through one of our online portals. Please direct your questions regarding these processes or any other matter to staff as usual—at 859.331.8980 Monday through Friday. Virtual meetings are an option staff can initiate as needed.

Staff has worked diligently over the past 13 weeks to keep turnaround times on applications and inspection requests in line with those processed before the COVID-19 lockdown. Permit applications may still be submitted online, and staff will review drawings and return comments online. Requests for building inspections should be called in as usual.

Applications and appeals scheduled for public hearings before the planning commission, boards of adjustment, and code enforcement boards are still being scheduled using online virtual meeting platforms. Meetings of the PDS Council and Management Board are as well. Agendas for these meetings and the URLs needed to attend these virtual meetings may be found on PDS’ website—www.pdskc.org. We expect to update this process sometime in July.
Declarations and events will prompt changes to these parameters without much notice. If that happens, we will distribute those changes via our website and our social media platforms on Facebook and Twitter.  

We always welcome feedback on all PDS programs, policies, and procedures. Use the satisfaction survey on our website to provide your comments. Thank you!

Effective:  06.15.20



Staff initiates office return; services still available online

Posted on June 01, 2020

Our staff will begin returning gradually to the Kenton County Government Center on Monday, June 1st. We’ll open our doors and return to normal 8 AM to 5 PM business hours on Monday, June 15th. In-house staffing levels through this time will be guided by Governor Andy Beshear’s executive orders. All services assigned to PDS by state law, interlocal agreements, partnerships, and contracts for professional services will remain available online through our return and beyond.

We extend these procedures that have been in place since March 16th to maintain the health of our staff and their families and to protect the well being of our customers.

Applicants for most of our review processes may continue to submit required paperwork and fees through one of our online portals. Please direct your questions regarding these processes or any other matter to staff as usual—at 859.331.8980, Monday through Friday. Virtual meetings are an option staff can initiate as needed.

Staff has worked diligently over the past ten weeks to keep turnaround times on applications and inspection requests in line with those processed before the COVID-19 lockdown. Permit applications should be submitted online, and staff will review drawings and return comments online. Requests for building inspections should be called in as usual.

Applications and appeals scheduled for public hearings before the planning commission, boards of adjustment, and code enforcement boards are still being scheduled using online virtual meeting platforms. Meetings of the PDS Council and Management Board are as well. Agendas for these meetings and the URLs needed to attend these virtual meetings may be found on PDS’ website—www.pdskc.org. We expect to update this process sometime in June.

Declarations and events will prompt changes to these parameters without much notice. If that happens, we will distribute those changes via our website and our social media platforms on Facebook and Twitter.

We always welcome feedback on all PDS programs, policies, and procedures. Use the satisfaction survey on our website to provide your comments. Thank you!

Effective:   06.01.2020



Temporary outdoor dining to support economic recovery

Posted on May 14, 2020

PDSKC is working with local governments wanting to ease their zoning restrictions on outside dining. May 22, 2020, Kentucky restaurants will be allowed to reopen at partial capacity with outdoor dining in support of economic recovery. A list of other issues Kenton County cities and businesses should consider when reopening can be found here on PDSKC.org.



Staff continues to remote; all services available online

Posted on May 13, 2020

Our staff will continue to serve Kenton County residents and businesses remotely from their homes across the metro area and beyond through at least Friday, May 29th. This includes all services assigned to the organization by state law, interlocal agreements, partnerships, and contracts for professional services.

We extend the procedures that have been in place since March 16th to maintain the health of our staff and their families and to protect the well being of our customers.

Applicants for most of our review processes may submit required paperwork and fees through one of our online portals, precluding the need to interact face to face with staff. Please direct your questions regarding these processes or any other matter to them as usual—at 859.331.8980 Monday through Friday between 8 AM and 5 PM. Virtual meetings are an option staff can initiate as needed.

Staff is working diligently to keep turnaround times on applications and inspection requests in line with those processed before the COVID-19 lockdown. Permit applications should be submitted online, and staff will review drawings and return comments online. Requests for building inspections should be called in as usual.

Applications and appeals scheduled for public hearings before the planning commission, boards of adjustment, and code enforcement boards are being scheduled using online virtual meeting platforms. Meetings of the PDS Council and Management Board are as well. Agendas for these meetings and the URLs needed to attend these virtual meetings may be found on PDS’ website—www.pdskc.org.

Declarations and events will prompt changes to these parameters without much notice. If that happens, we will distribute those changes via our website and our social media platforms on Facebook and Twitter.

We continue to welcome feedback on all PDS programs, policies, and procedures. Use the satisfaction survey on our website to provide your comments.

Effective:   05.13.2020



PDS Board hires new executive director

Posted on May 04, 2020

Sharmili Reddy left Planning and Development Services of Kenton County five years ago to become City Administrator for Fort Mitchell. On Friday, she accepted an offer from the organization’s Management Board to become its fifth executive director. Current executive director Dennis Gordon will retire this summer after almost 18 years of service to Kenton County.

“Dennis gave us plenty of notice so we could find the best possible candidate,” said County Commissioner Joe Nienaber who serves as the Board’s chairman. “We advertised nationally and received resumes from quite a few exceptional people. In the end, we decided Sharmili’s previous PDS experience and her five years in Fort Mitchell made her the best candidate to move the organization forward.”

Reddy has a Bachelor of Architecture degree from BMS College of Engineering, Bangalore, India, and a Master of Community Planning degree from the University of Cincinnati. Her professional planning experience includes two years with the Center Regional Planning Agency in State College, Pennsylvania, and ten years with PDS before leaving for the post in Fort Mitchell.

“PDS has a long history of community impact in Kenton County and I am excited for the opportunity to come back and lead this organization,” said Reddy.

“Sharmili was a great contributor to our mission during her ten years on staff,” said Dennis Gordon, PDS executive director. “She provided great people skills and played a key role in developing Kenton County’s online comprehensive plan, Direction 2030. We hated to lose her when she left for Fort Mitchell.”

Direction 2030 received several state and national awards since its adoption in 2014 by the Kenton County Planning Commission.

PDS, formerly known as the Northern Kentucky Area Planning Commission, was created in 1961 following action in 1960 by the Kentucky General Assembly. Through the early 1980s it served as staff for the multiple citizen planning commissions that existed in Campbell and Kenton Counties. It has served as staff for the Kenton County Planning Commission and its 20 local governments since 1983. Interestingly, today marks the 59th anniversary of the organization’s first meeting held at the Covington City Building—a date the organization refers to as Founder’s Day.

“We’re talking with Sharmili now regarding her start date,” stated Nienaber. “I believe we can work things out so she can spend some time with Dennis before he leaves on the first of August.”



PDS fulfills responsibilities from 47 metro locations.

Posted on April 29, 2020

Our staff will continue to serve Kenton County residents and businesses remotely from their homes across the metro area and beyond for the near future. This includes all services assigned to the organization by state law, interlocal agreements, partnerships, and contracts for professional services.

We extend the procedures that have been in place since March 16th to maintain the health of our staff and their families and to protect the well being of our customers.

Applicants for most of our review processes may submit required paperwork and fees through one of our online portals, precluding the need to interact face to face with staff. Please direct your questions regarding these processes or any other matter to them as usual—at 859.331.8980, Monday through Friday between 8 AM and 5 PM. Virtual meetings are an option staff can initiate as needed.

Staff is working diligently to keep turnaround times on applications and inspection requests in line with those processed before the COVID-19 lockdown. Permit applications should be submitted online, and staff will review drawings and return comments online. Requests for building inspections should be called in as usual.

Applications and appeals scheduled for public hearings before the planning commission, boards of adjustment, and code enforcement boards are being scheduled using online virtual meeting platforms. Meetings of the PDS Council and Management Board are as well. Agendas for these meetings and the URLs needed to attend these virtual meetings may be found on PDS’ website—www.pdskc.org.

Declarations and events will prompt changes to these parameters without much notice. If that happens, we will distribute those changes via our website and our social media platforms on Facebook and Twitter.

We continue to welcome feedback on all PDS programs, policies, and procedures. Use the satisfaction survey on our website to provide your comments.

Effective:   05.01.20



Paperless and digital goals help with COVID-19

Posted on April 07, 2020

Goals PDS established in 2017 and 2019—and on which its staff worked diligently since then—prepared the agency for its current COVID-19 office closure. Those goals were to transition to a paperless office and to go digital for receipt of all permits, subdivision plats and plans, development plans, and building plans.

“I don’t know how we’d have functioned during this closure if we hadn’t taken the steps we took,” said Dennis Gordon, FAICP, executive director. “As it is now, our responsibilities are pretty much covered fully from 40+ remote locations around the metro area.” View locations map

Gordon suggests the ability of staff to be available for walk-ins and impromptu meetings suffers with the Kenton County Government Center being closed but “people are learning they just need to call for an appointment and that’s going well.”

The organization’s 2017 goal to go paperless was driven by two facts: PDS was beginning to face storage challenges for records that must be retained according to statute; and, technology was presenting options that made storage of huge amounts of data more accessible and less expensive than storing hard copies.

The 2019 goal to go digital was largely a product of customer demand. Developers and builders were submitting their plans digitally in increasing numbers. When the subject of submitting plans online was raised, members of the Building Industries of Northern Kentucky responded loudly with the question, “How soon can that be one?”

Gordon says the decision to move PDS’ offices to the new Kenton County Government Center provided the last piece to the puzzle: a deadline by which to complete the two transition goals. Staff is working now to reduce all of PDS’ old records to scans that can be stored digitally.

“We had very specific benefits in mind when we began working toward these goals,” said Gordon.  “They were all about efficiency and cost savings. For staff, that meant being able to access records quickly. For customers, that meant not having to drive to PDS’ offices to submit projects and receiving staff review comments digitally. In other words, a win-win result.”

Being able to work seamlessly and without delay from multiple metro locations is the icing on the cake, he says.



PDS staff is working remotely

Posted on March 31, 2020
PDS staff is working remotely

PDS staff members are working entirely from remote locations now in response to COVID-19 emergency declarations.

Staff continues to provide all services assigned to the organization by state law, interlocal agreements, partnerships, and contracts for professional services.

Turnaround time on applications as well as for inspection requests may increase slightly but staff will continue to process them as quickly as possible. Permit applications should be submitted online, and staff will review drawings and return comments online. If you need assistance, please call for support.

Matters scheduled for public hearings before the planning commission, boards of adjustment, and code enforcement boards through the month of April will be rescheduled as soon as Governor Beshear’s emergency declaration expires.

Declarations and events will prompt changes to these parameters without much notice. If that happens, we will distribute those changes via www.pdskc.org and our social media platforms on Facebook and Twitter.

Effective: 03.31.20

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