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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.



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!”