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Independence Gets Zoning Update, Approves Sidewalk Project Bid

Planning and Development Services (PDS) is working with several Kenton County communities on the Zoning for the 21st Century (Z21), an initiative to streamline zoning ordinances throughout the county.

Significant progress has been made, according to Megan Bessey of PDS. Bessey gave an update on the three-phase initiative at last week's Independence city council meeting. The first phase included an audit that revealed a need to present the zoning ordinances in a more user-friendly way. Bessey said that PDS staff has reformatted texts and has added graphs and other simple graphics to better disseminate zoning information.

PDS is well into the second phase of the Z21 initiative which is building an interactive blueprint of zoning codes. Basically, the blueprint will be presented as a chart on the PDS website with hyperlinks to more detailed information.

“We want everyone to be able to carry zoning ordinances in their pocket in a format that can be easily used,” said PDS Executive Director Dennis Gordon.

PDS will eventually tailor the blueprint for each community, by grouping each city into one of four categories: Urban, for communities such as Bromley; first-ring suburban for communities such as Fort Mitchell; suburban for communities such as Independence and rural for southern Kenton County.=

“PDS is standardizing things across the board,” said Independence Mayor Chris Reinersman. “We can still do zoning how we would like in our city, but the hope is that we’ll work with other communities to have a common ground. This will make things easier for developers.”

Gordon agreed.

“What developers are faced with when they want to do something in Kenton County is a woe of ordinances,” Gordon said. “We want to simplify things as much as possible to make it easy to do business in Kenton County. It is still up to each individual council to do what they think is in the best interest of their community.”

The Z21 intiative is fully funded by PDS and currently includes 13 of the county’s 20 cities, five of which want to come on board with the project. That leaves Walton, which is governed by Boone County zoning and Covington, which handles its own zoning.

Also at the March 4 council meeting Independence leaders awarded a bid for the Madison Pike sidewalk project to JPS Construction for $385,600. The city will be reimbursed $250,000, however, through a federal grant.

Council voted unanimously, with the absence of councilman Greg Waite to accept JPS’s bid. The project is expected to begin in May.

Written by Melissa Reinert, RCN Contributor

Photo: Megan Bessey of Planning and Development Services presents an update on Zoning for the 21st Century to Independence City Council.