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Villa Hills First of Several to Come in Adopting New Kenton Co. Zoning Code

What is being described as a new era of planning and zoning in Kenton County will launch May 6 with the unveiling of an ordinance that proponents say creates a modern and more user- and business-friendly zoning code. 

The Kenton County Z21 Blueprint Zoning Ordinance updates existing zoning codes that were adopted decades ago with a flexible, streamlined and simpler ordinance that communities throughout the county can customize to meet their individual needs, a news release said. 

The City of Villa Hills is the first in Kenton County embracing the new ordinance. On May 6th at 6:15 p.m., the Kenton County Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on the new Villa Hills Zoning ordinance. 

“The new ordinance and zoning map provide information such as detailing land use, regulating structures and building materials, providing guidelines for open space and environmental standards and more,” said Villa Hills Councilmember Cathy Stover, who chairs the city's administration committee. 

"This ordinance will be useful in providing the city a framework to ensure that the integrity of the city will be carried on throughout the 21st Century so that Villa Hills remains 'A Special Place to Live',” Stover said. 

During the May 6 hearing, members of the public can listen to the zoning proposal, ask questions and comment on the ordinance. Villa Hills City Council will then vote at a regular meeting to adopt and officially enact the ordinance. 

To review the new zoning text and map prior to the May 6th meeting, and to follow the meeting virtually, members of the public can log on to https://kcpcky.org/meetings/now-pending

"The leadership of the City of Villa Hills is taking a big step for the future of the community by being the first to adopt this new zoning ordinance," said Planning and Development Services (PDS) of Kenton County Planning Manager Andy Videkovich. "This new ordinance will help Villa Hills grow in a way that protects its unique character while responding to the ever-changing pace of development." 

"The city's elected leaders, residents, and staff who have dedicated themselves to this project deserve recognition for their commitment to the future of Villa Hills," he said. 

At monthly meetings over the past two years the Villa Hills administration committee reviewed the Z21 document. Committee members examined each of the more than 350 pages to determine if the guidelines presented in the draft ordinance coincided with the vision and mission of the city and its residents. 

Stover said the proposed Villa Hills zoning ordinance incorporates information gathered from the Small Area Study, the River Road Study, related city ordinances, and the comprehensive plan into one document that is concise and easily navigated.   

"The language has been simplified, and the tables and diagrams are user friendly and provide quick reference tools," she said. "The online electronic version with hyperlinks will be easily accessible to developers and the general public." 

In addition to Villa Hills, 12 other communities are participating in developing new zoning ordinances through this project: 

  • Bromley; 
  • Crescent Springs; 
  • Elsmere; 
  • Erlanger; 
  • Fort Mitchell; 
  • Fort Wright; 
  • Independence; 
  • Lakeside Park; 
  • Ludlow; 
  • Park Hills; 
  • Taylor Mill; 
  • Unincorporated Kenton County. 

These communities will consider how their new zoning ordinances can best meet their vision and needs, ultimately enacting the new zoning ordinances through a similar process.  

"While there are many standardized sections of the new Z21 zoning ordinances, it is important to note that this is not a one-size-fits-all document," Videkovich said. "Protecting the uniqueness of each jurisdiction was recognized early on as an important goal of this project, and one that I feel PDS has met through this process." 

Existing ordinances in most cities, with the exception of Covington, were adopted 30 to 40 years ago and were rigid, confusing and difficult to use.  

"As these ordinances aged, they more and more became hindrances to development," Videkovich said.  

Covington updated its own zoning code late last year.

Along with more ease of use, standardized code sections and the ability of communities and customize the code to meet its needs, other benefits include: 

  • Improved efficiency, flexibility, simplicity and predictability; 
  • An online platform that can be easily searched and cross-referenced; 
  • A streamlined approval process; 
  • Utilizing Link-GIS to ensure existing neighborhoods match the new zoning standards; 
  • Protecting the unique character of compatible infill development through architectural standards for commercial and residential buildings and infill development incentives; 
  • Protecting environmental, cultural and historic resources through floodplain hillside development standards, tree preservation requirements, stream buffers. 

-Staff report

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