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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!”

Council approves FY15 budget and work program; changes its name

Posted on August 15, 2014
The Northern Kentucky Area Planning Council fulfilled one of its primary statutory responsibilities in late June when it considered and then approved the organization’s budget and proposed tax rate for Fiscal Year 2015. The group of elected officials representing each of Kenton County’s 20 local jurisdictions concluded the evening by changing its name and approving a number of steps recommended earlier by the PDS Management Board (formerly the area planning commission).

Among the many facts about the proposed budget illustrated for elected officials was the FY15 bottom line. “This new fiscal year budget approximates the bottom line of our Fiscal Year 2006 budget,” said Dennis Gordon, FAICP, PDS executive director. “It also represents an approximation with the bottom line of our FY14 budget—the one that just ended in June.”

Because of growth since last year in the county’s real property values, Gordon asserts this bottom line will lead to a less-than-compensating rate for PDS on this fall’s Kenton County tax bills. Compensating rates produce the same amount of revenue as the preceding year’s rate.

In other action taken by the Council, members followed suit on action taken in May by the area planning commission which changed its name and those of its operations to Planning and Development Services of Kenton County. The Council approved a resolution which among other things changes its name to the PDS (Planning and Development Services) Council. Both name changes were part of a comprehensive effort aimed at clarity.

A communications assessment conducted in 2011 found that the number one problem people had with NKAPC was confusion about the services it provided and how they differed from those provided by the Kenton County Planning Commission. The other reason for the change was to reflect the true mission of the agency as a service provider on behalf of the county’s 20 local governments—a city-county planning department, if you will—and the county-wide planning commission created by those jurisdictions nearly 50 years ago.

PDS is overseen by a group of seven individuals who meet regularly to assure that direction provided by the community’s elected officials is being followed. The organization’s budget and the tax rate that funds a majority of it are reviewed and approved annually by these elected officials as required by law.

PDS provides professional staff support to the Kenton County Planning Commission. It also supports a majority of the county’s 20 local jurisdictions as their planning, engineering, and building staff. And, it serves as managing partner and provides the central hub and staffing for the multi-county LINK-GIS partnerships.