Z21 Project


PDS staff is embarking on a much needed multi-year project to review and update the zoning ordinances in Kenton County. The existing zoning ordinances have served as zoning infrastructure in Kenton County for over 30 years. However, like all aging infrastructure, it’s beginning to create problems. Almost everything has changed since the 1980s and the ordinances’ deficiencies are becoming more apparent. As evidence of this point, during the Direction 2030: Your Voice. Your Choice. planning process, the need for updated regulations was mentioned many times and made its way into several goals, objectives, and recommendations of that plan.

Project Goals

  • Craft a user/business-friendly zoning ordinance that will
  • avoid legal pitfalls; that will
  • provide efficient, flexible, and simple procedures resulting in predictable decisions; that will
  • protect the community’s environmental, cultural, and historical resources; that will
  • reduce the number of nonconformities and
  • simplify and consolidate zoning districts; that will
  • facilitate compatible infill development; and, that will
  • implement Direction 2030: Your Voice. Your Choice.

Project Process

Phase 1: Community Reports and Audits of Zoning Ordinances

  • Engage a consultant to lead the process with assistance from PDS staff (FUNDED BY PDS);
  • Create the Z21 Task Force from participating jurisdictions;
  • Facilitate meetings with each jurisdiction to:
    • gain understanding of each community’s issues; and
    • discuss how national trends in zoning are affecting the community;
  • Conduct a review of and generate recommendations for each community’s zoning ordinance;
  • Discuss recommendations and receive feedback from each community; and
  • Provide customized reports for each community.

This phase is complete. Find videos that recap Phase 1 here:

Phase 2: Creating a Blueprint Code

  • Engage a consultant to lead the process with assistance from PDS staff (FUNDED BY PDS);
  • Create a Blueprint Code which will contain the following:
    • standardized code sections (where applicable);
    • comprehensive list of updated zoning districts from which each jurisdiction can choose and customize to meet its needs;
    • options for development standards from which each jurisdiction can choose and customize to meet its needs; and
    • all other components needed, including a variety of options, for a completely-updated zoning ordinance;
    • Continue meeting with participating communities to guide the development and review of the draft Blueprint Code;
  • Craft a final product to be an online, interactive Code that uses hyperlinks, charts and tables, and illustrations throughout;
  • Roll out the finished product to all Kenton County communities participating in the Z21 Initiative.

Estimated completion by December 2018.

Phase 3: Implementation

  • Work with each community to customize its own zoning ordinance from the options provided through the Z21 process;
  • Support each Z21 community as it selects desired elements of the Blueprint Code, tailors them to meet their individual needs, and adopts that final product per KRS requirements; and
  • Roll out the Blueprint Code to all other Kenton County communities.

This phase began in 2019. 6 jurisdictions have adopted the Z21 ordinance, and the Planning Department is currently working with 7 other jurisdictions.


For Frequently Asked Questions, click here.