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Covington to Host Public Meetings About Future of Zoning

The City of Covington is planning to revamp its approach to zoning and is hosting a charrette for the public to discuss it.

The event will offer the public an opportunity to weigh in with opinions, concerns, and goals about future development and other neighborhood issues related to zoning.

"If you've seen development in your neighborhood or favorite area of Covington that made it better, or you see an example of where an opportunity was missed to make it better, these events are for you," said Christopher Myers, the city's preservation and planning specialist, in a news release.

The gatherings take place April 29-May 1 and range from a drop-in-at-any-time 8-hour open design studio to a 2-hour presentation on work-in-progress.

Attendees will have a chance to talk with staff from both the city and its consultants. Covington hired Kendig Keast Collaborative - who also brought in Dover, Kohl & Partners - to oversee the transition from what the city described as a rigid, traditional, Euclidean zoning code to what is known as a form-based code, or Neighborhood Development Code.

"People shouldn't worry about not being able to speak legalese or being able to speak the so-called language of zoning," said Alex Koenig, the city's zoning and development specialist. "We have experts who can listen to the public's ideas, concerns, and opinions and make sure those are reflected in actual regulations."

Zoning is the process by which communities guide physical development of land and buildings to reduce conflicts and create complementary spaces.

Euclidean vs. form-based:

A traditional code like Covington's existing ordinance zeroes in on specific land "uses" and typically assigns buildings and/or spaces only one use, thus separating the city by use, a news release said.

A form-based code encourages mixed uses and focuses more on the "form" of buildings and their relation to adjoining spaces and the streetscape. It uses standards and design ideas to preserve the character or "feel" of an area, the announcement said.

"Our ordinance seems to focus on what we don't want," Myers said. "We want a guiding document that by right allows us to pursue development that we do want. We also want to make those good investments - this smart, sensitive development - easier to implement instead of throwing up roadblocks."

About the events:

  • Charrette Kick-Off & Hands-on Design Session - Monday, April 29, 6:30 p.m.-9 p.m. - Covington Latin High School (11 E. 11th St.) - Informative, hands-on presentation on form-based codes, town planning, and community revitalization. After the presentation, you can work with your neighbors to draw your vision for Covington's future. 
  • Open Design Studio - Tuesday, April 30, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. - Hellmann Creative Center, (321 M.L. King Jr. Blvd.) - Stop by the studio at any time during these open hours and talk with the design team and help shape the plan. 
  • Open Design Studio - Wednesday, May 1, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. - Hellmann Creative Center - Stop by the studio at any time during these open hours and talk with the design team and help shape the plan. 
  • Work-in-progress Presentation - Wednesday, May 1, 6:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m. - Hellmann Creative Center - In this wrap-up presentation, see all of the work completed during and after Charrette week of drafting ideas for Covington's future.

For questions about the Neighborhood Development Code effort, contact Christopher Myers, the City's Preservation and Planning Specialist, at [email protected].

-Staff report

Image via PDS