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Entries for 2012

NKAPC employees elected to state, local boards

Posted on November 30, 2012
Brian Sims, Jeff Bechtold, and John Lauber have each been building inspectors for over 15 years.  Those years of experience and their willingness to serve garnered election victories recently for each of the three NKAPC staffers in the Code Administrators Association of Kentucky (CAAK) and the Northern Kentucky Building Inspectors Association (NKBIA).

Brian Sims, CBO, NKAPC’s chief building official, was elected to a seat on the CAAK board of directors while completing his current term on the NKBIA board.

Senior building official Jeff Bechtold was elected NKBIA's president for 2013; Bechtold is also a CAAK board member.

John Lauber, senior building official, was re-elected as NKBIA's treasurer.

Since 1989, NKBIA members have worked together to improve code enforcement and uniformity in the Northern Kentucky region. Over the years, NKBIA has worked with CAAK, International Code Council, Northern Kentucky Home Builders Association, and the Office of Housing Building and Construction on code changes, statewide code adoptions, and code training.

For more than 35 years, CAAK has worked to ensure consistent and professional building code enforcement in all areas across the commonwealth. Its membership includes more than 650 building inspectors, fire officials, contractors, engineers, architects and others in related fields. CAAK works directly with the Office of Housing Building and Construction on code development, code adoptions and training.

Local leaders reconvene The Dixie Fix oversight team

Posted on November 30, 2012
The Dixie Fix plan was a cooperative study conducted by the Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments (OKI) and NKAPC. The plan—approved in 2006—covers an eight-mile stretch of Dixie Highway through Covington, Park Hills, Fort Wright, Fort Mitchell, Lakeside Park, Crestview Hills, Edgewood, Elsmere, Erlanger, and Florence. These cities, as well as NKAPC, the Boone County Planning Commission, and the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, examined access management and land use throughout the corridor. Each city also signed a Memorandum of Understanding to help better coordinate efforts to increase safety and reduce travel times.

The study focused on two major goals: a prioritized list of projects ranging from short- to long-term site specific access management recommendations and critical guidelines for implementation standards such as transit stop improvements, increased streetscape improvements, and future right-of-way widths. Another key recommendation of the study was to form an oversight team to encourage and coordinate implementation efforts suggested in the plan. This team was envisioned to meet on a recurring basis to help share information and ideas, as well as track progress of changes throughout the corridor.

Quarterly meetings began soon after the plan’s approval in 2006 and continued regularly until March 2011. The oversight team went on a temporary hiatus in mid-2011 due to the lack of improvements along the corridor due to economic recession and a slow-down in available redevelopment investments from state and federal funding.

Recently, there has been increased interest in the plan and in reconvening the oversight team. “We wanted to get the team back together because new funding opportunities had come to light on the federal and state level. Also, changes in the local elected leadership of cities along the route offered new energy and a renewed level of excitement in the overall study,” said Larry Klein, Covington city manager and vice-chair of the oversight team.

The team met in September, which provided members an opportunity to recap the study since 2006. The meeting also allowed the team to discuss new developments along the route, learn about new funding sources available for the prioritized list of projects, and talk to representatives from the Transit Authority of Northern Kentucky about potential corridor transit enhancements.

Robyn Bancroft, OKI strategic projects manager and project manager of The Dixie Fix, said, “I think everyone in attendance at the September meeting found the discussion very beneficial and a great investment of their limited time. Much was discussed that can support travel improvements in every Dixie Highway community.”

To date The Dixie Fix has helped coordinate efforts such as new sidewalks in Edgewood and Crestview Hills near the Town Center, the installation of new streetscape improvements at the I-275 interchange, preliminary work on realigning Garvey and McAlpin Avenues in Erlanger, elimination of redundant bus stops, and efforts to make access safer and more efficient throughout the route.

Coordination – an important function of NKAPC staff

Posted on November 30, 2012
Planning has always played an important role in coordinating efforts of various agencies, governments, private organizations, non-profits, and residents. In Kenton County, NKAPC staff works diligently to be involved with groups throughout the community and region whose missions focus on improving the quality of life for residents.

Staff has worked closely with the Kenton Conservancy board of directors—a non-profit corporation committed to protecting lands of natural, cultural, recreational, and historical significance—since its inception over a decade ago. The Conservancy has preserved over 100 acres of land to date through voluntary donations from property owners and developers.

“Often times developers call us regarding land they own as part of a development that is intended to remain in its natural state,” said Sharmili Reddy, AICP, NKAPC’s planning manager. “This land in most cases includes hillsides and areas along streams that have very high ecological value. We work to connect these developers with appropriate agencies that have the resources to focus on land preservation. This provides a win-win outcome for both parties.”

Several current zoning districts throughout Kenton County allow for greater flexibility in the type of housing product they permit and allow for a mixture of uses. This traditionally involves an open space requirement which usually becomes the responsibility of a home owners association. With the work of the Kenton Conservancy, however, early coordination during the planning phase of the development provides a developer the opportunity to donate this land in return for federal and state tax benefits.

“We know there are a lot of groups out there working on various efforts that we may not necessarily know about or have worked with in the past,” said Jim Berling of Berling Engineering Company. “NKAPC has been a crucial point of contact for us with those groups. If we can convey remnant land to a group that is working on land conservation, it benefits the community as a whole.”

Mackey McNeil, chair of the Kenton Conservancy said, “NKAPC’s involvement provides citizens and developers a regular point of contact when dealing with our board and allows volunteers to focus on outreach, maintenance, and spreading our message to the community. We don’t believe we’d be able to continue to serve the citizens of this county without the support and guidance we receive from NKAPC.”

NKAPC earns State Auditor’s ‘Compliance’ designation

Posted on November 30, 2012
State Auditor Adam Edelen’s recent push for greater accountability from the Commonwealth’s 1200+ special districts places NKAPC among those agencies in the top tier. The resulting ‘Compliance’ designation earned through this process signifies the organization meets state requirements for financial decision making and accountability.

A recent news release from the Auditor’s office said that the current system of financial oversight of these special districts treat those that comply with state laws the same way as those operating outside of it. It says “the status quo is a muddled morass of statutes, bizarre classifications, uncertain responsibilities, confusing mandates and the absence of meaningful tools to compel compliance.”

The news release announced the establishment of an online public database and accompanying report to shine new light on these districts. This category of Kentucky local governmental entities includes libraries, sanitation and water districts, public health departments, fire and ambulance districts, transit authorities, and river port authorities to name a few.

“We certainly support what the auditor’s trying to accomplish,” said Dennis Gordon, FAICP, executive director. “NKAPC has always pursued annual audits of its books. Our budgets have always been approved by elected officials accountable to the taxpayers, and our books have always been open and transparent for anybody with a question.”

The Citizen Auditor Initiative database and “Ghost Government: A Report on Special Districts in Kentucky” are the end results of a six-month long effort to survey known special districts and local elected officials and examine more than 1000 statutes that govern the most prevalent form of government in the commonwealth.

“To be sure, there is a difference between the districts themselves and the scandalous lack of system-wide oversight of them,” Edelen said in the news release. “Their work is critical to the communities they serve, many board members put in considerable hours on a voluntary basis and the vast majority are honest stewards of the tax dollars they spend.”

“This is the first time that information on the state's taxing districts has been made available in an online, sortable format,” said Logan Morford, vice president of transparency of the Bluegrass Institute. “As a result, citizens will be able to easily find critical information about how their hard-earned tax dollars are spent.”

The report includes legislative recommendations aimed at cleaning up the statutes that govern special districts, adding teeth to compel compliance with reporting requirements, creating an online centralized registry for special districts to report their financials and establishing education and ethics for special district board members and staff.

“This is really a significant service to the public interest,” said Richard Beliles, executive director of Common Cause of Kentucky. “This is a major, major improvement in government for the people.”

The auditor’s office worked with the Department for Local Government, members of a legislative task force studying special districts, and more than a dozen organizations that offered their support of this effort.

The full report and database can be found on the auditor’s website.

Covington returns to the One Stop Shop program

Posted on November 30, 2012
Following a recent vote by the Covington City Commission, Northern Kentucky’s largest city returned to NKAPC’s collaborative One Stop Shop codes administration program on October 24. Building and electric permits and inspections in Covington are now part of the program that serves 14 jurisdictions in Kenton County.

“We’re very pleased to be part of a countywide approach to permitting and inspections,” said Larry Klein, Covington city manager.  “The combination of the One Stop Shop program and the convenience for our residents and businesses of being able to continue applying for their permits at Covington City Hall made this a real win-win for us”.

The One Stop Shop program unites the codes administration programs of most Kenton County local governments: building—both local and state-level jurisdiction; zoning; property maintenance; and code enforcement in a structural framework that benefits those jurisdictions and the people they serve. It also provides staff support for the jurisdictions’ boards of adjustment and code enforcement boards where they exist.

The program is built on NKAPC’s “critical mass” of professionals, providing economies of scale that are impossible for local jurisdictions to match and levels of service the local jurisdictions can’t afford.

One Stop Shop locates the primary responsibility for these programs under one roof. As this relates to construction, all applications, all fee payments, all permits, and all requests for inspections are handled from one location, one phone number, and one website. Differing fee schedules from city to city, charges at both city hall and NKAPC for the same project, and multiple interpretations of the same building code requirement were eliminated when the program began in 2005.

“We’re happy to have Covington back in the program,” said Dennis Gordon, FAICP, NKAPC’s executive director.  “Governments at all levels are looking for ways to be more efficient with the funds they have available to them.  The One Stop Shop program continues to prove that collaboration on efforts like this makes sense and saves tax dollars.”

More information about the One Stop Shop program is available on the NKAPC and One Stop Shop program websites.

Direction 2030 Goals and Objectives

Posted on October 29, 2012

Direction 2030: Your Voice. Your Choice.  – a comprehensive planning effort for Kenton County is moving into a third round of public meetings to discuss  the statement of  goals and objectives..

The preparation of goals and objectives is an important step in the planning process as it represents a collective vision for Kenton County.  Upon the completion of these statements, Kenton County’s 20 legislative bodies and the Kenton County Planning Commission will consider them for adoption.

The first of the two meetings will be held at the Blessed Sacrament Church, 2407 Dixie Highway on Wednesday, November 7, 2012 from 6:00 to 8:00 PM.  This Goals and Objectives Workshop will provide the opportunity for the public, various interest groups and organizations to comment on the draft goals and objectives and make suggestions to strengthen these guiding principles for our community.  This will be the last scheduled meeting for acquiring input prior to the draft being finalized.

In addition to the workshop, legislative bodies or organizations that wish to have a more focused group discussion on the draft may arrange to do so before or during the session.  Please contact Sharmili Reddy at sreddy@nkapc.org for further information on scheduling a focused group discussion.

The second of the two meetings will be a Capstone Meeting held on Monday, November 12, 2012 from 6:00 to 8:00 PM at the Community Christian School, 11875 Taylor Mill Road, Independence.  This open house format meeting will present the final statement of goals and objectives to the public before it is considered each of Kenton County’s legislative bodies and the Kenton County Planning Commission.

NKAPC sets holiday closing schedule for 2013

Posted on October 26, 2012
NKAPC offices will be closed on the following days in 2013: 01 January (New Year’s Day), 21 January (Dr. Martin Luther King Holiday), 18 February (Presidents’ Day), 27 May (Memorial Day), 04 July (Independence Day), 02 September (Labor Day), 21-22 November (Thanksgiving Holiday), 24-25 December (Christmas Holiday), 31 December (New Year’s Eve).

The NKAPC website is available 24/7/365, providing answers to virtually all of our most often-asked questions.

NKAPC employee elected as KAMP Treasurer

Posted on October 26, 2012
Tom East, Senior GIS Specialist with NKAPC, was elected as the new treasurer for the Kentucky Association of Mapping Professionals (KAMP) at the 2012 Kentucky GIS Conference held in Louisville from September 26-28, 2012.

KAMP is an organization composed of individuals from government, academia, and the private sector. Its mission is to foster an understanding of geospatial information throughout the commonwealth, and to improve management of geospatial data wherever it may be used. KAMP also seeks to provide a mechanism for dialogue regarding geospatial information issues of concern and interest to all Kentucky professionals involved in the collection, processing, analysis, use and maintenance of geospatial information.

East is a certified GIS Professional (GISP) and has been employed by NKAPC for 22 years. He has a total of 35 years of experience in the field of GIS, working at the federal, state and local levels.

LINK-GIS website virus; staff works at improvements

Posted on October 26, 2012
Since 2003 the LINK-GIS website has been utilized by a myriad of surveyors, appraisers, engineers, realtors, local officials and mapping enthusiasts. And in that time its users have seen many changes and upgrades. Our goal for the website is to provide excellent service from the convenience of a home or office.

With much regret and mystery the LINK-GIS website was down from September 5th through the 13th. As the GIS team currently works to bring the site back up to the full functionality that everyone enjoys and expects, this outage was used as a chance to step forward with upgrades to the server, as well as create redundancy in the system. LINK-GIS also upgraded several software versions, which included the mapping, programming and spatial data engine (SDE) software.

What does this mean to our customers? This means faster maps, increased data reporting, less down time, upgraded services, ease of use, more data, and certainly fewer outages.

LINK-GIS is dedicated to service and appreciates your patience and support during this problematic time. If there is anything you need or service you would like to request please do not hesitate to contact us at 859-331-8980.

Covington becomes newest LINK-GIS contributor

Posted on October 26, 2012
LINK-GIS would like to welcome the City of Covington as a new contributing partner.
By becoming a contributor to the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) the city will receive the following benefits:
• LINK-GIS data updates on a quarterly basis;
• Eighty total hours of access to the NKAPC GIS department;
• Customization of daily GIS functions;
• Group discount on ESRI software and training;
• Forty hours dedicated to Internet Map and GPS customization; and
• Designated NKAPC staff contact person.
The City of Covington realizes the critical role that geography plays when growing and planning a city and its services. For that reason Covington has chosen to leverage GIS to make better more informed decisions. The cost of a GIS contributor is $5,000.

If your city is interested in becoming a contributor today, please call Trisha Brush at 331-8980.

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