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Entries for 2018

Kenton comprehensive plan updated on new schedule

Posted on August 24, 2018

The Kenton County Planning Commission (KCPC) has updated the county’s award-winning comprehensive plan, Direction 2030: Your Voice. Your Choice. after considerable work by the commission’s staff. State law requires that comprehensive plans be reviewed and updated by local planning commissions every five years. The KCPC adopted Direction 2030 in 2014.

Direction 2030 was originally designed to take Kenton County’s planning program in a new direction,” said James Fausz, AICP, Long-Range Planning Manager for PDS of Kenton County. PDS provides professional staff for the Kenton County Planning Commission.

“This latest round of updates continues with the plan’s new path. While the plan’s online-only format was a definite paradigm shift, reviewing and amending the plan more frequently than every five years  allows us to be more responsive to our communities’ needs. These recent amendments are a perfect example of this new direction.”

A number of Kenton County’s elected officials approached PDS staff of late, wanting to update their respective future land use maps. These maps provide direction to elected leaders and the planning commission when they’re faced with rezoning requests.

According to Fausz, the new approach of updating the plan when necessary (but no less frequently than every five years) “allowed us to respond to the cities’ needs in a more timely manner, putting them in the best position to be proactive for the future.”

The recent amendments to Direction 2030:

·        updated the Recommended Land Use map for the Cities of Bromley, Edgewood, Elsmere, Erlanger, Fort Mitchell, Independence, Ludlow, and Ryland Heights;

·        updated several elements to insert recommendations and maps from Kenton Connects, the county’s new bicycle/pedestrian plan;  

·        updated the interactive land use map to reflect the state’s more detailed proposed alignment for KY 536 from Staffordsburg Road to KY 177 and remove a proposed arterial connecting KY 16 and KY 177; and,

·        updated and amended the description for Mixed Use; and, updated the Community Service Areas for Cox Road, KY 16, KY 536, and KY 1303.

Direction 2030 may be found online. Questions should be directed to PDS at 859.331.8980.


New building codes an option now; mandatory January 1st

Posted on August 23, 2018

Following action by the Legislative Research Commission, the 2018 edition of the Kentucky Building Code and Kentucky Residential Code are now options for builders pursuing construction across the Commonwealth. Both codes will be mandatory statewide on January 1st.

“The Department of Housing, Buildings, and Construction along with building inspectors and trades people from across the state have worked towards this new edition for quite a few years,” said Brian Sims, CBO, Chief Building Official for PDS of Kenton County. PDS provides building code review and inspection services for 18 of Kenton County’s 20 local governments.

“Schools will benefit from two of the most noticeable changes in the 2018 codes,” according to Sims. “Storm shelters adequate to protect a building’s student body and staff will be required in new school facilities. They’ll also be required to include public address systems capable of overriding fire alarms so that directions may be heard over the alarm.”

The 2018 Kentucky Building Code and 2018 Kentucky Residential Code are based on the 2015 International Building Code and International Residential Code, both with some Kentucky-specific amendments. The International Codes Council, a member-focused association with over 64,000 members worldwide, produces both codes. The Kentucky-specific amendments are available from the following links from the Department of Housing, Buildings, and Construction.

2018 Kentucky Building Code

       2018 Kentucky Residential Code

Additional information on the new codes is available from the department’s website.

Questions about implementation of the new codes in Kenton County should be emailed to bsims@pdskc.org or directed to him at 859.331.8980.

Construction ends FY18 on a high note

Posted on July 10, 2018
Several key categories from Kenton County’s development scene showed strong numbers for June, the end of Fiscal Year 2018. PDS’ monthly analytics showed the highest numbers of the past 12 months for four key activities: plans reviewed; permits issued; inspections performed; and, linear feet of new concrete sidewalk inspected.

“While these numbers are annual highs, they didn’t come as a complete surprise,” said Dennis Gordon, FAICP, Executive Director. “We’ve watched these activity levels grow throughout the fiscal year. June’s numbers approximate what we were seeing back in 2008 before the market crashed.”

According to ‘PDS by the Numbers’ for June, staff: reviewed 170 sets of construction plans; issued 324 permits; performed 653 inspections; and, inspected 2,596 linear feet of new concrete sidewalk. ‘PDS by the Numbers’ keeps track of close to 100 activities pursued by staff on a monthly basis. Most are posted online for agency accountability and transparency.

Other metrics included in the monthly post are: plan review turn around time; project values (provided by the applicant); subdivision plats submitted; residential lots created; number of active subdivisions in the County; code enforcement cases opened/closed; planning commission and board of adjustment cases processed; number of walk-in/phone-in customers helped; and, social media communications sent out alone with the number of responses.

Kenton Connects scheduled for action

Posted on July 10, 2018

The Kenton County Planning Commission will act next month on a bicycle and pedestrian plan for Kenton County. The year-long effort to craft the plan concluded recently with an open-house forum at Dixie Heights High School. If approved by the Planning Commission, the new plan titled Kenton Connects will be incorporated into Direction 2030, the Kenton County comprehensive plan to guide future mobility decisions across the community.

Kenton Connects replaces the county’s two stand-alone plans. The Kenton County Bicycle Plan was adopted by the Kenton County Planning Commission in June 1999. And, the Kenton County Pedestrian Plan was adopted by the Planning Commission in June 2001.

For more information on Kenton Connects, logon to the plan’s website, email cschneider@pdskc.org, or call him at 859.331.8980.

Governor signs PDS-sponsored bill

Posted on May 14, 2018
Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin signed House Bill 138 April 10th enacting provisions approved earlier by the General Assembly. The bill, proposed by PDS of Kenton County and sponsored by Rep. Adam Koenig of Erlanger, authorizes local communities to band together to create joint boards of adjustment that will be made up of an appointee from each jurisdiction. The new law takes effect July 1.

“The catalyst for this bill came from our local officials,” said Dennis Gordon, FAICP, executive director at PDS. “Many of our local officials are finding it more and more difficult to justify the cost of standalone boards that might meet a couple times a year. They’re also finding fewer and fewer people who are willing to give up time with family to sit on a public board.”

Collaborative boards with neighboring communities solve both problems. PDS suggested a similar bill several years ago involving code enforcement boards. There were 14 code enforcement boards in Kenton County at the time. Today there are four, one being a joint board serving Kenton County and 13 cities.

“I believe every community has found this to be a win-win collaboration,” stated Gordon. “The increased workload of a joint board necessitates monthly meetings which in turn facilitates members becoming more familiar with their responsibilities. Better-informed members tend to make more legally-defensible decisions which results in lower liability and costs for municipal budgets.”

Gordon reports that Kenton County has 13 boards of adjustment currently. He concludes with the hope that that number will dwindle as mayors become more comfortable with the concept and the ability to appoint their own members and save dollars.

Kenton Connects ready for review

Posted on May 14, 2018
The Kenton Connects Advisory Committee invites Kenton County residents to a Public Open House on May 16 from 6 – 7:30 p.m. The forum will be held in the Dixie Heights High School cafeteria (3010 Dixie Highway).

Residents may come and go at their leisure.

“Public input and feedback is a critical part of creating successful bicycle and pedestrian policies for our communities,” explained Chris Schneider, AICP, Principal Planner for PDS and project manager for the study. “We’re pleased with the input that led to the draft and hope a large turnout will provide feedback from residents.”

The Kenton Connects study began last summer with the goal of updating the county’s most recent bicycle plan (1999) and pedestrian plan (2001) and encouraging these modes of transportation in Kenton County. The study’s Advisory Committee is comprised of residents, business owners, elected officials, and professionals to provide staff oversight and guidance to the study.

A public survey conducted in October 2017 provided initial direction for the study and the resulting plan was built on that input. The study focuses on bicycle and pedestrian safety, usage, infrastructure, and education. The resulting plan is the months-long efforts by the Advisory Committee and PDS staff.

The Public Open House will give attendees an understanding of the work and research that went into the study and the draft recommendations, and an opportunity to provide feedback.

“We’ve learned a great deal from the community and believe the draft plan presents an accurate vision for bicycle and pedestrian issues,” said Jason Reser, Advisory Committee member. “This Open House is a great opportunity to learn more about the Kenton Connects study and to contribute to making cycling and walking better in Kenton County.”

Committee members will review feedback and begin finalizing the plan following the Open House.

While the plan might be nearing completion, there is still much work to do before the final approval process. Visit www.KentonConnects.org or email Chris Schneider at PDS or call him at 859.331.8980 for more information on ways you can play a role.

Origin of Area Planning: May 4, 1961

Posted on May 04, 2018
On this date in 1961, elected officials from Kenton and Campbell County Fiscal Courts and the Cities of Covington, Erlanger, Taylor Mill, Winston Park, Elsmere, South Fort Mitchell, Bromley, Newport, Fort Thomas, Dayton, Crestview, Woodlawn, and Southgate gathered at Covington City Hall to execute a contract establishing an area planning council and commission pursuant to legislation enacted the previous year by the Kentucky General Assembly.

They elected officers for the Council—Charles Kuhn of Fort Thomas was chosen the first president—and the first eight members to serve on the Area Planning Commission: George Nelson (community unknown); June Lukowski (Fort Mitchell); Paul Swanson (Erlanger); E.R. Morlidge (Fort Thomas); Charles Creekmore (Taylor Mill); Edward Beiting (Alexandria); George Neack (Newport); and, Lawrence Rechtin (Dayton).

Those actions capped off a several-year effort by members of the several chambers of commerce, the Home Builder’s Association of Northern Kentucky, local elected officials, members of the 23 local planning commissions that existed across the three northern Kentucky counties, and ultimately the area’s legislative delegation to the General Assembly to provide for “a more efficient planning operation.” (KRS 147.610)

The post-World War II explosion of suburban development was in full swing.  Bulldozers and other heavy equipment were on the move, connecting Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky to the brand-new Eisenhower interstate highway system. And, many were worried that without coordination and the technical support of a professional staff, Northern Kentucky would fail to capture the opportunities presenting themselves through new growth and development.

So, thank you to those far-sighted individuals and the history they initiated that Thursday evening. Thank you to all who have served on the Council and Board these past 57 years. Thank you to those who have filled positions we hold now, who have built the foundation on which we pursue our responsibilities today. And thank you to the Kenton County of 2018, a community much better off than what it would have been without the collective effort of those who came before us.

Update to PDS Management Board

Posted on May 03, 2018
Members of the PDS Management Board met on May 1st for the board’s annual organizational session. Among the actions taken were the swearing in of recently-elected members and the election of officers for the next 12 months. Of the four members sworn in was first-time member and Erlanger Councilwoman Jessica Fette. Her election and oath of office represent the first time in the organization’s 57-year history that three women hold seats on the seven-member board; former-Covington Mayor Sherry Carran and Kenton County Commissioner Beth Sewell are also members.

The three other newly-elected board members were former Fort Wright mayor Tom Litzler, Crestview Hills Mayor Paul Meier, and Park Hills Mayor Matt Mattone. Carran, Sewell, and Fort Wright Councilman Bernie Wessels round out the board’s seven members.

Litzler and Meier were reelected chairman and vice chairman respectively of the board. Sewell was elected treasurer.

The PDS Management Board serves in an oversight role to the organization’s staff and an administrative role involving its budget. Board members are elected by a formal group made up of one elected representative from each of Kenton County’s 20 local governments. The staff provides technical support to the Kenton County Planning Commission and serves a number of service roles for those 20 local governments.

New Duke Energy Solar Power Facility

Posted on April 25, 2018
Duke Energy customers will soon benefit from their new solar power plant unveiled in Walton today. The facility is designed to provide clean, renewable energy to meet a growing demand for solar power. The 60-acre site has approximately 19,000 solar panels and will produce about 4 megawatts of electricity which is enough to power 900 homes annually. On April 24th, local officials were present for the ribbon cutting ceremony and Duke Energy representatives answered questions about the facility. Electricity created at the site will be fed into Duke Energy’s electric grid and delivered to customers in the area.


PDS In the Field

Posted on April 16, 2018
John Lauber, PDS Senior Building Official, was called by Kenton County dispatch on 8:51 Saturday morning (April 14). Thirty minutes later he arrived at 1204 Scott Boulevard in Covington and met with the fire department, property owner and city engineer to evaluate the building. Electric and gas was shut off as a precautionary measure. Occupants were evacuated. A contractor was called by the fire department and showed up about 10:45. The city engineer and Lauber discussed / decided what and how the building was to be temporarily shored. He waited for the contractor to get materials, install the shoring and board up the building, and stayed toward the end of the process. This is the second time this building has been involved in a collision.

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