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Zoning/Planning Vocabulary

The term is displayed with a drop-down feature showing the definition. The following terms are for reference. Legal definitions can be found within KRS100 or the appropriate zoning ordinance.

Comprehensive Plan

  • The goals, objectives, and recommendations that guide a community’s vision of the future. This document serves as a guide for all public and private development. The comprehensive plan is crafted through expert analysis, professional research, and the involvement of government officials, citizens, and other stakeholders.

Comprehensive Plan Changes

  • From time to time changes might be necessary to the comprehensive plan. When changes are needed, an application is made for a comprehensive plan amendment to be heard by the Planning Commission. Staff then reviews and researches the request, provides a staff report describing the changes, and presents the issues to the Planning Commission at a public hearing. The Planning Commission then weighs the changes and makes final determination of whether to change the plan. Unlike map and text amendments, the Planning Commission has the final say on changes to the comprehensive plan.

Zoning

  • Regulations such as the use of land, setbacks, signs, and off-street parking, which may include additional regulations that are based upon the local jurisdiction’s vision for an area or district

Map Amendment

  • The change of an area on the official zoning map from one or multiple zoning districts to a different zoning district or districts. For example, a map amendment might change a property from a residential zone to a commercial zone.
  • A property owner (or their authorized agent), the Planning Commission, or the legislative body can apply for a map amendment. When a change is requested, an application is submitted to the Planning Commission. Staff then reviews and researches the request, provides a staff report describing the changes, and presents the issues to the Planning Commission at a public hearing. After hearing all the testimony, the Planning Commission makes a favorable or unfavorable recommendation. This recommendation is then sent to the City/County legislative body for final action.

Text Amendment

  • A text amendment is a change of the written regulations within the zoning ordinance. For example, a text amendment might allow additional types of businesses to operate in a commercial zone or change the building setback requirement from 15 to 20 feet.
  • Only the Planning Commission or the legislative body can apply for a text amendment. When a change is requested, an application is submitted to the Planning Commission. Staff then reviews and researches the request, provides a staff report describing the changes, and presents the issues to the Planning Commission at a public hearing. After hearing all the testimony, the Planning Commission makes a favorable or unfavorable recommendation. This recommendation is then sent to the city/county legislative body for final action. Only the legislative body can approve a text amendment.

Stage I Plan

  • When an application for a zone change is made in a zoning district that requires a development plan, or the zoning ordinance requires Planning Commission and City/County review of a proposed development, submission is made for a Stage I Development Plan or a Preliminary Development Plan. This is a dual phase public hearing approval process which is designed to ensure proper integration of the development into the surrounding area. The development plan needs to provide sufficient information as required by the ordinance to describe the zoning, net density, location and orientation of all residential or non-residential buildings, open space, streets, parking, and sidewalk configurations. The plans are reviewed by the Planning Commission who then forwards their recommendation of approval or denial to the City/County administrator or legislative body. Action taken by the administrator or legislative body is then binding upon the applicant and other parties involved in the project.

Stage II Plan

  • After a Stage I Development Plan is completed, the zoning ordinance may require approval of a Stage II Development Plan, which must conform to the concepts and general layout of the approved Stage I Development Plan. The Stage II Development Plan provides a finer level of detail regarding the proposed development. This plan of the subject property is required to provide detailed information regarding: grading; location and arrangement of all lots; as built information for all buildings regardless of use; utility lines and easements; water distribution systems; sanitary and storm sewer detail including natural drainage systems; location and arrangement of all common open space areas, and recreation facilities; a landscaping plan; parking configurations and calculations; street pavement details and cross sections; vehicular and pedestrian circulation systems; methods of erosion control; and phasing of development. Development is not allowed until the legislative body, or administrative staff (depending on the authority with final review approval for that zoning district) has approved the Stage II Development Plan and a permit is obtained.

Kentucky Revised Statutes (KRS) Chapter 99 Plan

  • Kentucky Revised Statutes (KRS) Chapter 99 allows local jurisdictions to use public funds and, if necessary, acquire property through eminent domain in order to redevelop areas where there are substandard and unsanitary building conditions. Development under Chapter 99 requires a plan to be submitted to the Planning Commission, which must find that there is substandard and unsanitary building conditions and redevelopment is necessary to protect the public.

Public Facilities

  • Any use of land whether publicly or privately owned for transportation, utilities, or communications, or for the benefit of the general public, including but not limited to libraries, streets, schools, fire or police stations, county buildings, municipal buildings, recreational centers including parks, and cemeteries.

Cell Tower

  • A tower constructed for the location of transmission or related equipment to be used in the provision of cell service. All new cell towers require approval through the Planning Commission or administrative staff, including small cell towers (Under 50’).

Subdivision

  • Generally, a subdivision is the division of a parcel of land into two or more lots or parcels. A subdivision includes any division of land regardless of the intended use. Minor subdivision applications propose only the division of land and contain no new public infrastructure such as new streets or utilities. Major subdivision applications propose both the division of land and contain new public infrastructure such as new streets or utilities.

Identification Plat

  • A drawing representing a proposed subdivision of land that does not contain any public improvements. Identification Plats are the most common way for individuals to create new buildable lots or add or subtract land from existing lots.

Final Plat

  • A drawing representing a proposed subdivision of land that does contain public improvements. In addition to the proposed lot layout, final plats also contain the proposed public right-of-way dedication and public utility easements associated with the public improvements.

Legislative Body

  • A group of elected officials for a specific jurisdiction that votes on and makes decisions regarding ordinances, statutes, and laws. Examples in Kenton County include a City Council, City Commission, and Fiscal Court.

City/County Administrative Official

  • And individual representative of the City/County such as a zoning administrator who interprets and enforces the zoning code for the jurisdiction. Other administrative officials include City/County Managers, Chief Administrative Officials, or Chief Executive Officers who are in charge of the day-to-day administrative operations of a jurisdiction.