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NKAPC, OKI team for new Kenton transportation plan

Posted on July 15, 2013
In the spring of 2003 gasoline prices hit a near-record high of $1.72 a gallon nationally, light rail transit was a regional hot button topic, and the global economic crisis was still five years away. It was against this backdrop that Kenton County adopted a new transportation plan—a document that guides transportation projects and provides the basis for federal funding. A lot has changed since 2003; the transportation plan hasn’t, until now.

NKAPC and the Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments (OKI) are embarking on a year-long process to update the Kenton County Transportation Plan. “A lot has happened in Kenton County that impacts transportation needs. Our intent is to take a comprehensive multimodal look at current needs and what is anticipated over the next 30 years,” said Robyn Bancroft, AICP, Strategic Planning Manager for OKI.

Work on the new transportation plan coincides with the Direction 2030 process that is currently examining all aspects of Kenton County’s growth and development.

“We’ve heard lots of comments in numerous Direction 2030 meetings about mobility,” said Sharmili Reddy, AICP, NKAPC’s planning manager. “Transportation is one aspect of daily life that affects everyone whether they walk, ride a bicycle, drive, or take the bus. We’re going to use all the information we have collected to date to help paint a picture of what mobility means today and what people want in the future.”

Aside from looking at mobility issues, this new transportation plan will seek to identify the impacts adjoining land uses have on the transportation network. Future anticipated land uses will be studied and included as a metric to help score and prioritize recommendations.

James Fausz, AICP, NKAPC’s lead on the project elaborated. “Hypothetically, let’s say an area is somewhat rural now but is anticipated to grow within the next ten years. Our goal is to identify areas like these, examine appropriate future recommended land uses, and help plan for what mobility upgrades might be needed.”

Ultimately, the document will produce a prioritized list of projects that will describe potential funding sources, a timeline for implementation, and agencies responsible moving parts of the plan forward. Projects contained in the plan will be considered for inclusion into OKI’s Regional Transportation Plan, which allocates funding for improvements.

When asked about project financing, Bancroft added, “Funding today is tight and we have to make smart decisions about where to invest to best meet the needs of our citizens and businesses. We want a healthy and prosperous Kenton County.”

The plan officially kicked off on July 1 and will continue through June, 2014. An extensive outreach campaign is planned for the project that will include traditional public meetings, social media events, and electronic surveying.

Villa Hills becomes One Stop Shop’s 15th jurisdiction

Posted on July 15, 2013
Villa Hills City Council and the Northern Kentucky Area Planning Commission entered into an interlocal agreement effective May 28th that delegates the city’s building, electric, property maintenance, and zoning codes administration to NKAPC. Villa Hills is the 15th Kenton County jurisdiction (out of 20) to be part of NKAPC’s collaborative One Stop Shop program.

The program also provides staff support for Villa Hill’s board of adjustment and code enforcement board. 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.

“We’re pleased to welcome Villa Hills to the program,” said Dennis Gordon, FAICP, executive director. “Mayor Mike Martin and City Clerk Craig Bohman have given us marching orders regarding the city’s priorities; we understand code enforcement is a top priority.”

Filing code enforcement complaints, seeking information about building or electric inspections, and searching for a property’s zoning classification is now one phone call away for Villa Hills residents. NKAPC can be reached at 331.8980 between 8 and 5 Monday through Friday. Considerable information in this regard is also available on the NKAPC website and the brand new 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 2004. We’re looking forward to providing those benefits to Villa Hills and its citizens,” concluded Gordon.

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

Independence, NKAPC Earn State Award

Posted on May 14, 2013
The City of Independence and NKAPC won the American Planning Association Kentucky Chapter’s (APA-KY) award for Outstanding Project for the Independence Zoning Update. The Independence Zoning Update was chosen from four nominated projects from across the Commonwealth by a panel of judges. The judging was based on three criteria: 1) practical use by others; 2) transferability to other communities; and 3) the quality of the project. The award was presented to the city and NKAPC recently at the 2013 APA-KY Planning Conference in Lake Cumberland State Resort Park.

“We’re quite pleased that this project was chosen, since the competition is always pretty tough,” said Martin Scribner, AICP, Director of Planning and Zoning Administration with NKAPC.

This project was the result of the city’s initiative to create a community-based vision and land use plan. From 2010 to 2012, a steering committee appointed by the city met monthly to develop regulations to implement the Independence Community Small Area Study. Public input also played a critical role in the formation of these regulations. Public meetings were held during the process and combined had over 100 different citizens in attendance. The result includes three new zoning districts that were adopted by the city in 2012.
  • The DI (Downtown Independence) Zone: This zone assists in the redevelopment of the Downtown Independence area so that it may serve as a destination for residents and those who work in this area to live, work, and access retail, office, and service uses.
  • The CD-SF (Conservation Development – Single-Family) Overlay Zone: The zone provides an alternative option for subdividing property that includes promoting the environmental, economic, social, and recreational benefits of conservation design.
  • The GMU (Gateway Mixed Use) Zone: Developments within the GMU Zone are intended to be the antithesis of traditional site-by-site strip development. Sites should be well planned with public amenities, vehicular and pedestrian transportation networks, and mixed uses. The GMU Zone has basic architectural standards that will prohibit modern strip-type buildings.
Independence Councilman Chris Reinersman states, “It has been my privilege to be a part of the Independence zoning update and I am very grateful to all involved. I believe this was an excellent example of what a major zoning initiative should be. It relied on the substantial efforts of a committee of local stakeholders under the judicious guidance of the experts at NKAPC. The end product was the result of many hours of well-researched and very thoughtful collaboration by the committee.”

Reinersman concludes, “The final recommendations sought, and were tempered by, significant public input throughout the process and resulted in a final product which represented the initial goals, gave appropriate consideration to all affected parties and, I believe, will ultimately benefit our community for years to come.”

GIS staffer serves on national addressing task force

Posted on March 14, 2013
A senior NKAPC staff member is part of the National Emergency Numbering Association’s (NENA) workgroup charged with recommending a protocol for placing address points used in Next Generation 9-1-1 systems (NG911). As the name suggests, these systems are involved with emergency calls and the local services that respond to them.

Senior GIS Specialist Tom East, GISP, learned about the opportunity to serve at an addressing conference last year in Memphis.  He recognized immediately the importance of contributing to the recommendations. According to East, “There are important changes coming to the world of emergency dispatching and NG911 is driving many of the improvements in how emergency calls will be handled and services dispatched in the future.”

NG911 will improve the way emergency calls are sent to dispatch centers by determining which center should receive the call even before it is answered. Accomplishing this requires the creation of accurate GIS data ahead of time.  Highly accurate address locations and dispatch service boundaries will facilitate use of a digital “push-pin” map on which the caller’s location is determined so the correct dispatch center is identified before a call reaches the dispatcher. This instantaneous determination improves response time potentially eliminating the need to transfer calls between dispatch centers as often happens now with cell phone calls.

Over the past few years, NKAPC staff has created and updated a digital map of address points used by its partners in the LINK-GIS system including dispatch centers in Kenton, Campbell, and Pendleton Counties. The many situations encountered in creating this address database are encountered in communities across the nation. Likewise, the problems encountered elsewhere are often found locally.

As East puts it, “Participating in this NENA workgroup allows us to contribute to, and learn from other communities in establishing a protocol for placing address points. It’s a valuable opportunity, especially in light of current developments with local dispatch services.”

Engineering workload shows slight uptick in early 2013

Posted on March 14, 2013
Things beyond spring-flowering bulbs and trees may begin popping up this season in Kenton County if recent submissions to NKAPC’s infrastructure engineering department are any indication.  An increase in subdivision development activity may be eligible for inclusion to that list.

Staff has approved a plan for an addition to Battleridge, an existing subdivision, in Independence. Battleridge has multiple entrances and is interconnected with other existing subdivisions in the vicinity of Bristow and Cody Roads. The addition contains 41 acres, is approved for 75 new single-family lots.  This addition will also prompt construction of 3,000+ feet of new public streets in the city.

Another smaller subdivision approved, Stillbrooke, is a stand-alone development that will not interconnect with adjacent properties in the future. This is because there is no vacant property nearby and no opportunity to interconnect with existing subdivisions that are. This subdivision is on the east side of Collins Road in Villa Hills.  It contains nine acres and is approved for 26 single-family lots. The addition will prompt construction for a little over 1,000 feet of new public streets in the city.

Staff is also in discussions with developers who plan to move forward this year on new phases of other existing subdivisions. These are located primarily in Independence and Erlanger where new development activity was most prevalent before the 2008 crash and the Great Recession that followed.

 “Things are by no means close to where they were in the mid-2000s, and we don’t believe we’ll ever see them getting that busy any time soon,” said Scott Hiles, NKAPC’s director of infrastructure engineering. “But, it’s good to see activity moving in the right direction again.”

Hiles says the two approved developments are expected to begin this spring as soon as weather allows.

NKAPC, OKI sponsor transportation funding workshop

Posted on March 14, 2013
NKAPC staff coordinated and hosted a recent Surface Transportation Program for Northern Kentucky (SNK) workshop for Kenton County city and county officials.

SNK funds are federal funds made available to local jurisdictions through the Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments (OKI). These projects include highway, transit and non-highway freight projects that anticipate needing funds in fiscal years 2015, 2016, or 2017. Nearly $12 million have been allocated to the program for these fiscal years.

Mark Paine, OKI’s Transportation Improvement Program manager, presented information to nine officials representing seven jurisdictions. He described the basics of the program, what projects are eligible, how to apply, and answered questions from attendees. Paine also elaborated on the program saying “for highway projects, these funds may be used for the design, right of way, utility, and construction phases.”

He also pointed out that projects receiving SNK funds would be required to meet the standard 20 percent local funding match requirement.

James Fausz, AICP, an NKAPC principal planner noted, “Historically, few Kenton County jurisdictions have sought these funds. Through this workshop, we hoped to give our local officials critical information about SNK funds so they can use them to improve our transportation network.”

Edgewood and Covington have received approximately $2 million for fiscal years 2013 and 2014.

Local officials who were not able to attend the workshop and would like more information on SNK funds are encouraged to contact Mark Paine at OKI. Completed applications are due to OKI by noon on April 12, 2013.

… for whatever it’s worth…

Posted on January 08, 2013
This month we continue a new feature initiated last September... for whatever it's worth. As NKAPC staffers keep themselves up to date regarding what's happening in other communities of the tri-state, the commonwealth, and the US, they find reports periodically that deserve a local audience.

This month we provide a September 2012 article from The Economist magazine. It provides information from recent studies that show automobile usage is declining in the US… and not just due to impacts of the Great Recession. If true, this trend could have far-reaching impacts on communities across the nation.

You can access the article here … for whatever it’s worth.

Views expressed in this article do not reflect an official position or policy of the NKAPC. The article is presented here to provide input for those interested in land use planning issues.

Staffer assumes chair of regional surveyors’ group

Posted on January 08, 2013
Northern Kentucky’s chapter of the Kentucky Association of Professional Surveyors (KAPS) has elected Steven Lilly, PLS, as its chairman for 2013. Lilly works with local surveyors through his role as Land Surveying Analyst at NKAPC. He has been a professional land surveyor since 2002 and has worked in NKAPC’s infrastructure engineering department since 2004.

KAPS was founded in 1968 and has grown to nearly 400 public- and private-sector members in multiple states. Its purpose is to maintain and perpetuate an organization for members having common professional problems and interest; to provide effective forums for discussion and united action on the part of its members for the enhancement and betterment of professional recognition, status and conditions of employment; and, for other matters which will contribute to the welfare of its members and the government and the people of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

Area Planning Council elects new officers for 2013

Posted on January 08, 2013
Members of the area planning council—the 20-member board representing each of Kenton County’s local governments—met last week for their annual organization meeting. In addition to ongoing business, the group elected officers for 2013 and selected three individuals to serve on the area planning commission.

Those elected to serve as officers through next January’s organizational meeting are Fort Mitchell Mayor Chris Wiest as president, Edgewood Mayor John Link as vice-president, and Elsmere Mayor Marty Lenhof as secretary.
Covington Mayor Sherry Carran, former Park Hills councilman Dick Spoor, and former Fort Wright Mayor Gene Weaver, were selected to serve two-year terms on the area planning commission. These three will serve alongside former Fort Wright mayor Tom Litzler, Crestview Hills Mayor Paul Meier, former Fort Mitchell Mayor Bill Goetz, and Edgewood Councilwoman Nancy Atkinson through 2013.

The area planning council and area planning commission are responsible for the administrative affairs of land use planning in Kenton County. The council is made up of one elected official from each of the county’s 20 local jurisdictions. Among its responsibilities are review and approval of the annual budget, selection of seven individuals to oversee the staff, and selection of an independent auditor to review the organization’s books annually.

Despite assumptions to the contrary, the area planning commission holds oversight responsibilities for the staff. It does not make land use decisions as those duties are pursued according to state law by the Kenton County Planning Commission.

The area planning council and commission have served Kenton County since 1961. More information is available on nkapc.org.

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