Z:21, Zoning for the 21st Century

Page 1

A Comprehensive Review of the Fort Mitchell Zoning Ordinance THE CITY OF FORT MITCHELL, KENTUCKY JANUARY, 2018

Prepared By: Rundell Ernstberger Associates Orion Planning + Design


Planning and Development Services of Kenton County, Kentucky contracted with Rundell Ernstberger Associates in partnership with Orion Planning + Design to complete an assessment of ordinances for twelve jurisdictions within Kenton County. To provide input into the process, one representative from each participating community served on the Project Task Force. On May 19, 2017, the consultant team and staff kicked off the project and discussed the expectations of the project, designating a point of contact, finalizing the schedule, reviewing the entire process, and gathering any plans, ordinances and other data necessary for the audit. For the review of Direction 2030: Your Voice. Your Choice Comprehensive Plan, a table summarized all the recommendations relating to zoning. There was consensus among the staff and consultants that very little of Direction 2030 was represented in the zoning ordinances given the age of the original base ordinance. The team completed a preliminary review of the twelve ordinances. Several themes emerged regarding organization and style of the ordinances. During this review, the Planning Commission, elected officials, and staff of each participating communities, answered a survey developed by PDS staff discussing how they use the ordinance. The results of this survey confirm the analysis of Direction 2030 and the overall themes of the preliminary review. Each community attended individualized meetings to discuss preliminary thoughts regarding the organization, flexibility, purpose of the districts, and many other issues the community experienced using their ordinance. Overall, the communities were receptive to the ordinance assessment and highlighted additional issues to address including nonconformities, infill development, and flag lots. The task force held their first meeting on June 20, 2017. The presentation included overarching themes, characteristics of a great ordinance, the number of zoning districts each community had in their ordinance, and highlights of what would be discussed in the one-on-one community meetings. At this point, the process transitioned from the Discovery Phase to the Analysis Phase.


Fort Mitchell Code Assessment

The creation of an issues matrix occurred during the Analysis Phase. Meetings with staff and communities, and observations by the consultant team resulted in the identification of issues included in the matrix. A two-page assessment for each community summarized key issues that the community needed to address in a zoning update. On September 20, 2017, the task force had their second meeting where the consultant team presented general recommendations for each community’s ordinance. The consultant and staff highlighted five highlevel recommendations as well as common fixes that needed to occur. The task force discussed the potential need for an ordinance framework and common elements whereby each community could tailor an updated ordinance to specific issues within their community. After the task force meeting, each community attended a one-on-one meeting to review their individual assessment and discuss direction and how the detailed recommendations should be refined. The final task force meeting included a discussion of the detailed recommendations. A final report contained the detailed recommendations for each community. The consultant and staff team discussed these reports in the final round of community meetings. The communities and staff will determine the next steps in updating each community’s ordinance based on the recommendations and local interest once this project is completed.


Fort Mitchell Code Assessment


There are several drivers at the national level changing planning and therefore changing the way communities address land use and development within their zoning ordinances. When updating their ordinance, the City of Fort Mitchell needs to consider many current planning trends. Change in Demographics: The population of the United States is changing, and Fort Mitchell is no exception. Most notably how the population is changing and its impacts on growth and development of the community. Many Baby Boomers are retiring and are moving out of their large family homes into areas where there is access to arts, culture, entertainment, restaurants, and healthcare. The population in Fort Mitchell has been increasing since 1960. In 2010, this area had similar population distribution through all age cohorts. The age cohorts which stood out included those 20 to 29 and 45 to 54. The millennials (20 to 30 years of age) and younger generations impact the growth of communities. This generation shows a strong preference for living in places that have services, amenities, and a high quality of life. They have a distinct preference for multi-modal mobility, smaller homes, more housing choices, more public spaces, and authentic urbanism. There is a strong desire for people to age in place across the U.S. creating more demand for greater mobility options and homes with less square footage. While moving to smaller housing units is one option to address this demand, another option is allowing accessory dwellings. Where accessory dwellings exist, some older adults choose to move into the accessory and rent the primary dwelling as a means of staying on their property and within their neighborhood. Missing Middle: Communities across the country face soaring housing costs and stagnant wages. This trend is creating a housing crisis even in small towns and rural areas. Good housing that is affordable to middle and lower income residents is becoming more difficult to find. Some communities address affordability through a concept referred to as the “missing middle” housing. Missing middle housing refers to a range of housing types in the medium (or middle) density category. These include duplexes, triplexes, quadraplexes, courtyard apartments, bungalow courts, and residential units above shops and workplaces. Some even consider accessory dwellings to fall into this category. Modern zoning practices have generally accommodated single-family detached and segregated multifamily housing but has limited or not allowed for much of the missing middle housing types typically integrated into mixed residential or mixed-use areas. Many historic neighborhoods contain a mix of housing types and have missing middle housing units that are contributing structures in historic districts. As the population ages, missing middle housing may provide opportunities for residents to age within their neighborhoods. In addition, younger generations are less enamored with suburban housing and suburban densities than older generations and are attracted to smaller dwellings on smaller lots. Plans and ordinances should allow communities to provide a full range of housing choice to answer these issues: affordable housing, senior housing, and housing for younger residents and small families. Fort Mitchell is well suited to capitalize on this opportunity by providing the types of housing desired by these demographic groups through its existing housing stock and/or redevelopment.


Fort Mitchell Code Assessment

Multi-modal Transportation: Transportation is shifting from an auto-centric society to a more balanced multi-modal society. This means more people want wide sidewalks, trails, and dedicated bicycle lanes that connect residences, retail, work centers, schools, community facilities and services, and recreation. Many communities nationwide are also installing other forms of mass transit options like bus rapid transit and light rail systems to help with congestion and reduce emissions. The shift to multi-modal transportation options is requiring changes to many features including sidewalk widths, connectivity requirements, access standards, parking, and uses permitted within zoning districts. To facilitate these changes, mixeduse districts should be the default and single-use districts the exception: the opposite of older style zoning codes. Economic Development Financing and Restructuring: After the recession in 2010, real estate investment financing came almost to a stop. Since then financing has resumed, however, the restrictions placed on financing for banks have made it difficult for some people who, prior to 2008, could qualify for mortgage financing. That, along with the changing attitudes of millennial, has meant that demand for rental property has outpaced for sale property. In terms of zoning, this usually means higher density development, with a demand for walkable, accessible design. This trend existed long enough to affect zoning regulations throughout the country. Emphasis on Authentic Place: Kenton County has a wide spectrum of subareas in the County including Urban, First-Ring, Suburban, and Rural. Each of these subareas has a distinct character and authenticity about them that bring a different set of challenges for development and redevelopment. First-Ring, like Fort Mitchell, tend to focus on their character, aesthetics, public amenities, pedestrian and bicycle facilities, etc. With changes in transportation options and soaring costs of housing, the change in the financing strategy for housing, more communities are focusing on protecting their existing character while ensuring their community remains authentic and competitive. In some cases, communities place more of an emphasis on increasing density and ensuring pedestrian scaled development Many communities include character standards within the zoning ordinances so that infill development matches the character of the existing neighborhood. Changes in Communications: The field of communications is rapidly evolving. While residents do not want to spend long hours at meetings, they want to be engaged and require more transparency in community decision making. The traditional communication methods of public meetings, and newspaper notices are giving way to online engagement. This means that communities must change their ways of communicating with the public regarding development projects and changes in policy. This affects the ordinance by requiring communities to move to a larger online presence. Kenton County has made part of that transition with their online Direction 2030: Your Voice. Your Choice Comprehensive Plan. The next step will be online filing of applications and permits, and providing information and Planning Commission and Board of Adjustment packets online. In addition, many communities are moving to online formats for zoning regulations that are searchable and easy to navigate.


Fort Mitchell Code Assessment

Technological Advances: Technology is constantly shifting. There have been advances in the energy sector with solar panels and windmills becoming more prevalent in both commercial and residential developments. Many ordinances do not have standards regulating commercial placement of solar panels and windmills. On March 3, 2017 Forbes Magazine, approximated that 10 million autonomous vehicles will be on the road by 2020. This will require changes to the ordinance including reduction in parking standards, drop off lanes, and reductions in lane widths, which allow for more multi-modal improvements. Need for Flexibility and the Ability to Adapt: National planning trends, technology and federal laws are constantly changing. It is hard for communities to keep up with these trends, especially with their ordinance. Therefore, ordinances need to have flexibility to adapt to these changes. This includes regulations that allow staff to make interpretations of the ordinance. This includes regulations that allow staff to make interpretations of the ordinance. This also means that some elements of the ordinance refer to a supplemental document in which changes happen without having to go through the entire process of amending the ordinance. This may include items such as character guidelines and landscape standards.


Fort Mitchell Code Assessment


There are many ways that communities across the country address national trends. Use of Lean Ordinances and Graphics: Contemporary ordinances incorporate many graphics such as illustrations or images to convey a point. Tables organize standards for easier readability and comprehension. When coupled with ordinance language that minimizes and streamlines procedures, reduces regulation to the minimum necessary to accomplish public goals, and reduces redundancy, the resulting ordinance becomes a “lean ordinance.” These modern ordinances are easier to navigate than their 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s predecessors. Because of all the graphics and tables, the ordinances may not be much thinner, but they are less dense and easier to understand and interpret by the general public. Uses & Building Design: When defining a community’s character, the scale and design a development takes is just as important as the use of the development. Because the City is built out, ensuring the compatibility of infill development and redevelopment is a priority. The City needs infill and redevelopment regulations that focus on building orientation to the street, building height in the context of adjacent structures, yard setbacks and accessory structures. Other standards should focus on the mix of the uses within the development and within a structure. Specific use standards should manage the impacts of certain uses within districts, including the compatibility of new development to the character of the existing neighborhood or shopping center. Standards that regulate the bulk of a structure should also be considered to ensure commercial structures fit within their context. This is especially important for infill development. Parking Flexibility: Most ordinances from the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s regulate parking by minimum standards. As the e-commerce industry grows and traditional brick and mortar retailers struggle, many areas are becoming truly over-parked. Coupled with the move towards autonomous vehicles and multimodal mobility, the need for automobile parking continues to decline. Therefore, many communities are beginning to regulate parking using a maximum number of parking spaces, and some omit parking standards entirely in favor of regulating only the design and location of parking spaces. This approach allows the business owner to determine the appropriate amount of parking needed to support the business operation. Mixed-use Districts: Traditional planning focused on separating uses into single-use districts. Today’s ordinances focus on inter-mixing compatible uses to create a more livable and walkable community. Contemporary ordinances incorporate mixed-use districts that permits both vertical mixed use within a building and/or horizontal mixing within the district. These districts address potential incompatibilities and context through design standards for lots and buildings. Digital Access: Printing a long zoning ordinance is cumbersome and expensive. Luckily, the digital age provides an alternative: internet-based ordinances. Ordinances are available online and include hyperlinks, pop-ups, and zoomable graphics and text to make searches and navigation quick and easy and the ordinance more readable. Many communities also have online zoning maps that contain metadata on entitlements including variances, special permits, and rezoning conditions.


Fort Mitchell Code Assessment


For the everyday user, a zoning ordinance can be daunting. Ordinances that express regulations in a simple and easily understood manner are desirable. A good ordinance will fit the community and implement its goals. That is what we look for when reviewing and assessing zoning ordinances. Based on this approach, several common themes began to emerge about what communities wanted to see adjusted in their ordinance including the following elements identified during the review process by the consultant and staff teams. Create a more user/business friendly ordinance: A good ordinance has common language, and is clear enough to allow two or more readers of reasonable intellect to reach the same conclusions regarding requirements and processes. In previous years, amendments to the current ordinance occurred to address issues ad hoc, and as a result, have become cumbersome to administer. Processes currently do not facilitate efficient and timely decision-making, sometimes requiring lengthy and costly processes. In the Fort Mitchell Zoning Ordinance, all processes should be located within one administrative chapter that is easy to find, easy to use, and easy to understand. Avoid legal pitfalls: Good ordinances contain reasonable standards that are easy to interpret and administer. They do not single out uses or areas without appropriate justification. Good ordinances are current with existing laws and court decisions. In the current ordinances, there are instances where specific uses are treated differently for no apparent reason, and some regulations do not seem to have a defined purpose. Still others are very subjective without clear criteria. Difficult and conflicting language within various sections of the ordinance makes the current ordinances hard to administer and enforce. Improve overall efficiency, flexibility, and make ordinances simple and predictable: With any ordinance, there is a balance between being predictable and being flexible. The ordinance should enforce what the community’s vision and goals are while at the same time balancing predictability and consistency. The current ordinances often does not allow reasonable flexibility and creativity to achieve the intent and in some cases over regulate certain issues. The current ordinance was designed to facilitate green-field development and does not provide the flexibility needed to facilitate redevelopment on infill sites. Reduce the number of nonconformities: Nonconformities in any community are inevitable. This often happens when regulations are changed. In many areas of Kenton County, by the time zoning was in place, development had already occurred. This created many nonconformities that limits changes a property owner can make. Having clear, comprehensive language that outlines all types of nonconformities, limitations, and restrictions is very important to a well-functioning zoning program. Simplify and consolidate zoning districts: Districts should be straightforward and implement plans. The City’s current ordinance has numerous districts that are unnecessary and complicate implementation of the ordinances. In several instances, a new zoning district was created to allow for a single use. Collapsing many of these districts into a few districts and establishing use standards to address issues related to specific uses will reduce the number of unnecessary districts.


Fort Mitchell Code Assessment

Compatible infill development: As time passes and vacant land becomes nonexistent, redevelopment of parcels within the neighborhood will occur. Many communities take advantage of infill opportunities to increase urban densities needed to support local businesses, and to maximize use of and capture more revenue for existing public facilities such as water lines, sewer lines, and streets. Fort Mitchell is located mostly within the subareas considered as the first ring suburbs. There is not a significant amount of open space in this part of the County available for new development. Development within Fort Mitchell will likely be limited mostly to infill development, redevelopment of existing residential and commercial areas, and a few limited opportunities for new residential, commercial, and industrial development. Protect the unique aspects & character of each community: Even though Kenton County communities share a geography and many resources, each has its own unique identity. Inappropriate development could threaten Fort Mitchell’s identity and their current zoning ordinance does not promote contextsensitive redevelopment. Fort Mitchell is not the only jurisdiction facing these challenges. A great opportunity exists to have compatible ordinances across the entire County. For example, there is no need to vary zoning elements that are common to all jurisdictions within Kenton County such as definitions, legal foundation, administration, process, and enforcement. Creating uniformity within these sections of the ordinance will make it easier and more streamlined for business owners and developers to work in Fort Mitchell.


Fort Mitchell Code Assessment


A survey and two series of individual meetings provided an understanding of how each community uses their ordinance and the issues they face. The following summary represents the responses and directions for Fort Mitchell.

Survey The communities took the survey at the beginning of the process, with multiple questions directed towards staff, elected, and appointed officials. The results of the survey showed what communities identified as the most important Direction 2030 goals, the top issues that are most important to the wellbeing of the community, and the most important issues regarding regulations. Two people completed the survey for Fort Mitchell and only one respondent answered some questions. A summary of key responses follows: Of all the Direction 2030 goals, the top three most important to the community were: 1. Celebrate the unique identify of communities. 2. Attract and create new jobs and retain existing jobs. 3. Encourage cooperative governance. The top three most important issues to the community’s well-being include: 1. Preserving and improving the existing community fabric 2. Reviewing permitting procedures to minimize overlapping and increasing efficiency in the permit process 3. Fostering growth from existing businesses and attracting new businesses. The following three elements were most important to the community in regulating land use and buildings: 1. Predictability – I want to know what will be approved or not in the process. 2. Efficiency – I want the process to work as quickly as is reasonable. 3. Clarity – I need to be able to understand written regulations and what applicants have to do to comply or request a change. Priority redevelopment goals included the downtown area at Buttermilk Pike, the Drawbridge site.


Fort Mitchell Code Assessment

Community Meeting The staff and consultant team held two meetings with County representatives. The following items are the specific issues identified in meetings and from the ordinance review. Definitions •

The definitions include words and phrases not used in the ordinance.

There are words and phrases that need defining, but are missing.

Some of the definitions contain regulation, which is inappropriate (see fence). Move regulations to the appropriate section of the ordinance.

Some definitions are for words or terms not used in the ordinance.

All definitions should be in one place instead of scattered throughout the ordinance.

Zoning Districts


There are more zoning districts (11 residential, 7 commercial/mixed use, 2 office) in Fort Mitchell. The differences between these districts is minor. For example: R-1F & -1RG have almost identical standards with land area required is 6,000 S.F. and side yard setbacks vary. There is a need for two different PO and PO-1 districts due to the transition of residences into businesses. All districts should have clearly defined purpose statements and standards that achieve their intended result.

The manufactured home park overlay zone is really a base district.

The list of uses are very specific and create issues if new or similar uses are proposed. A better way to address this is to create a use list by its land use impact. For example, instead of having a list with candy store, delicatessen, book shop, the list could be just retail and personal service uses. Restaurants would be listed because of their unique parking and traffic issues including drive-ins and drive-throughs.

Rigid setbacks can cause problems for historic uses, and for encouraging the creative use of land especially in subdivisions for “missing middle” types of housing. Additionally, rear setbacks are large in some districts and would not allow the location of an accessory use or expansion of existing buildings. Flexible setback requirements should be explored so long as the new construction is compatible with its neighbor.

MLU districts: Not sure why there is a MLU and MBLU. Can it just be one mixed use district that has both a mix of uses on site and within structures? The MLU has a large lot requirement of 15 acres. This promotes a more suburban type of development versus urban. Acts more like a PUD district than a mixed-use district. MBLU requires at least 10 acres so it doesn’t promote a mix of uses within a building.

PUD overlay: should be made a true PUD district instead of an overlay district.

Simplify purpose statements. These are very important statements.

Fort Mitchell Code Assessment

Total Number of Zoning Districts 35








30 23






18 12


5 0

Land Uses


Create a use matrix to identify permitted and conditional uses for each district. This matrix should include broader use categories as opposed to the very specific use list currently included in the ordinance. For example, instead of having a list with candy store, delicatessen, bookshop, etc. the list could be “retail and personal service uses.” List restaurants separately because of their unique parking and traffic issues including drive-ins and drive-thrus.

Make certain uses conditioned. Use specific conditions may include traffic generation and patterns, time of operation, location, and increased buffers among other things.

The code includes performance standards for certain uses to address noise, light, odor, vibration, and solar access. This should be in the general regulations section instead.

Some regulations for accessory structures in single family and multiple family districts. Need to better define accessory structures. Take regulations in definitions out and move them to a section specific for uses where standards for accessory uses would be located. Set size limitations and number based on the type of accessory uses (i.e. open air: a pool, parking lot, play equipment or enclosed: garage, shed, etc.)

Short-term Rentals (AirBnB; VRBO) – is not regulated in the codes however, they have been treated like a motel or hotel severely limiting them. It would be beneficial to explore opportunities to allow short-term rentals as a conditional use.

Home Occupations. These are permitted within the City and but does not allow employees? Need to allow at least one employee. Prepare use provisions for home occupations.

There are not any quantifiable infill standards. Standards should be written too address taking two or more lots and tearing down both structures to build a larger structure. There is a minimum lot size but not maximum, and there is no dwelling unit minimum or maximum size to manage this.

The sexually oriented business section reads like a white paper instead of regulation. They should just regulate, and not commentate. However, revisions to this section should be made with consideration for legal requirements.

Fort Mitchell Code Assessment

Nonconformity •

Need to make the nonconforming regulations more flexible (e.g. if 50% of a building, structure, etc. is damaged then can rebuild to the same footprint; can increase nonconformity by 10 or 15%)



Designate a section of the ordinance for all accessory structure (shed, swimming pool, detached garage, tennis court, etc.) standards. This allows the accessory structure to be defined and clear regulations established that standardize interpretations.

Five Acre Minimum – Section 17.0, F. mandates no freestanding zone of less than five acres. The PUD Overlay Zone requires a minimum of 25 acres (10.8, G.). Both standards may increase the difficulty associated with infill and redevelopment.

Create one chapter that has all processes, procedures, and enforcement in it, instead of spread throughout numerous articles.

Rewrite the fencing standards to address location, materials, height, and transparency. Including graphics will improve legibility of this article.

Fort Mitchell Code Assessment


The relationship between the comprehensive plan and zoning ordinance is paramount. The comprehensive plan is a guide for the zoning ordinance giving the Planning Commission opportunities to create or update the community’s vision for the future. This vision guides development when incorporated into the zoning ordinance. With the recent update to the comprehensive plan, little to no revisions have occurred too many of the community ordinances. Therefore, the plan’s vision and recommendations are not grounded in the ordinance. The ordinance works in the basic ways it should with regulations that protect the character of the community. However, there have been many improvements in ordinance writing since the adoption of the Fort Mitchell Zoning Ordinance. These improvements include:

Organizational Changes Organizational changes to improve the sequencing of ordinance elements; reduction in redundancy though consolidation of sections and concepts and, where that is not possible, providing cross-references to related sections; and overall improvement in readability and ease of understanding.

Streamline Processes Like other aspects of life today, those seeking zoning approval want it faster, cheaper, and easier. There is a balance, however, between being responsive to applicants and being responsible to the public to protect the public good. Many communities are responding to these pressures by streamlining approval processes and eliminating delays that do not compromise public trust. One example worth considering is the alternative map amendment approval process allowed by the state statutes. The appropriateness of each review, approval process, and designated approval authorities require additional consideration. Additionally, all processes should be in one chapter rather than scattered throughout.

Simplify Ordinance Language Zoning ordinances are full of planning jargon, legalese, and often unnecessarily wordy or obtuse statements. During the ordinance update, the language should be simplified and made easier to understand. Here are a few suggestions for how to do that. Please note that we did not do an exhaustive review of each ordinance regarding the following issues. Ordinance citations are examples found in the Fort Mitchells’ Ordinance. Similar citations are in all the ordinances. Avoid unnecessary jargon and simplify provisions: •


Example: Section 9.1 Reduction in Building Site Area currently states “Except as herein provided, no lot, in any zone, may be reduced in area below the minimum lot area as specified herein for the zone within which said lot is located, except where such reduction has been brought about by the expansion or acquiring of rights-of-way for a street. If, however, by some means (e.g., misinterpretation of law, erroneous lot descriptions, etc.) the lot area is reduced below the minimum required lot area as specified herein for the zone, all of the uses and structures contained on the remaining portion of the area shall be subject to compliance with all other provisions of this ordinance. In the event that the uses and structures cannot comply in such

Fort Mitchell Code Assessment

circumstances, the property owner shall seek relief from the Board of Adjustment, as provided for in Section 18.5 of this ordinance.” Suggested Fix: The minimum lot area in any zone shall not be reduced below the requirement of the zoning district. In cases where the lot area has been reduced below the minimum requirement, all uses and structures on the lot shall comply with all other provisions of the zoning ordinance, unless relief is sought. Correcting the misuse of words will also simplify the ordinance. For example, Section 2.0, Authority states: • •

The City of Fort Mitchell, Kentucky, in pursuance of the authority of Kentucky Revised Statutes (KRS 100.201 - 100.991) hereby ordains and enacts into law the following articles and sections. As written it means that the City is pursuing the authority, not that it is carrying out the authority granted to it. The correct wording is: o

The City of Fort Mitchell, Kentucky, pursuant to the authority granted by Kentucky Revised Statutes (KRS 100.201 - 100.991), hereby ordains and enacts into law the following articles and sections.

Avoid longer or more complex words when shorter, simpler ones suffice: •

Example: 9.11, C.6. —"…required for full utilization and employment…” The words “utilization” and “utilize” have the same meaning as the simple word “use.” Reword to say “…required for full use and employment…”.

Example: 7.0 FLOODWAY —“…areas that must be reserved in order to discharge the 100-year flood…” The phrase “In order to” has the same meaning as the word “to.” Also, the word “ascertain” means determine. Use that word for simplicity. Reword the phrase to say “…areas that must be reserved to discharge the 100-year flood…”.

Example: 9.30, B., 39. — “… which provide standards for the purpose of flood damage prevention and reduction…”. The phrase “for the purpose of” has the same meaning as “to.” Reword to say “…which provide standards to prevent and reduce flood damage…”.

Example: 9.27, A., 1. – “provided that such uses are located…set back from the rear lot line a minimum of twenty (20) feet,”. The phrase “provided that” means “if.” Reword to state “if such uses are located…set back from the rear lot line a minimum of twenty (20) feet,”

Avoid the use of “and/or.” It is confusing in ordinance language and very common in the ordinances. In most instances, the intent is “and” or “or” but not both. When it is both, be clear that it is both by saying “a or b or both.”: •


Example: 9.29, E., 13., f., 1., a. -" The maximum density of the zone is not exceeded and/or the minimum site for the total development must not be less than that required by the respective zone;” o

The statement “…is not exceeded and or the minimum site…” means that both must be present.


The statement “…is not exceeded or or the minimum site…” implies it could be either but does not have to be both.

Fort Mitchell Code Assessment

Example: Definitions. “BUFFER AREA: Areas so planned and/or zoned which act as a buffering or separation area between two (2) or more uses or structures not compatible, due to design, function, use, or operation” o

Is it a buffer if the area is just planned to be a buffer or must something in a zoning approval require it? If the answer is either, then and/or may be appropriate. If the answer is one but not both, then and/or should be replaced with “or.”

Avoid the use of passive voice and write in as clear and concise a manner as possible. •

Example: Definitions. “CURB CUT: Any interruption, or break in the line of a street curb in order to provide vehicular access to a street. In the case of streets without curbs, curb cuts shall represent construction of any vehicular access which connects to said street.” o

Suggested Fix: “CURB CUT: Any interruption or break in the line of a street curb to provide vehicular access. If no curb exists, the city engineer shall determine what constitutes similar access for the purpose of regulating curb cuts.”

Analysis of Section 2.0 helps to bring together the suggestions made above. This section is very wordy as currently written: SECTION 2.1 PURPOSE: The zoning regulations and districts, as herein set forth1, have been prepared in accordance with the adopted comprehensive plan to promote the public health, safety, morals, and general welfare of the city, to facilitate orderly and harmonious development and the visual or historical character of the city, and to regulate the density of population and intensity of land use in order to2 provide for adequate light and air3. In addition, this ordinance has been prepared4 to provide for vehicle off-street parking and loading and/or5 unloading space, as well as to facilitate fire and police protection, and to prevent the overcrowding of and, blight, danger, and congestion in the circulation of people and commodities, and the loss of life, health, or property from fire, flood, or other dangers.6 The zoning regulations and districts, as herein set forth7, are also employed to protect highways, and other transportation facilities, public facilities, including schools and public grounds, the central business district, natural resources and other specific areas in the city which need special protection by the city8. Footnotes to Section 2.1: 1Wordy; 2Wordy; 3This is an overly complex, wordy, run-on sentence; 4 Passive voice; 5Unclear; 6 This is an overly complex, wordy, run-on sentence; 7How does it aid value determination? This is unnecessary and most likely meaningless; 8This is an overly complex, wordy, run-on sentence; 8This is an incorrect reference. A possible rewording is: The zoning regulations and districts established by this ordinance have been prepared in accordance with the adopted comprehensive plan for the City of Fort Mitchell. The purpose of these regulations is to promote public health, safety, morals, and general welfare; to facilitate orderly and harmonious development; and to protect visual and historical character. Certain standards are created to regulate the density of population and intensity of land use to ensure the provision of adequate light and air. Other standards are created to prevent overcrowding, blight, congestion, loss of life, diminished health, or property hazards due to fire, flood, or other avoidable dangers. Finally, this ordinance is established to protect highways and other transportation facilities, to ensure adequate public facilities including schools and parks, to support the central business district, and to protect resources vital to our quality of life.


Fort Mitchell Code Assessment

Rely on Other Codes and Ordinances to Address Common Issues The zoning ordinance addresses some common problems that are better addressed in another ordinance. For these situations, it is best just to remove the language from the zoning ordinance to eliminate conflicts with these other codes and ordinances. Example: Section 9.2 Interference with Traffic Signals: No sign, structure, tree, planting, or vegetation, or any portion thereof, shall protrude over or into any street to create confusion around, or otherwise interfere with, traffic signals of any kind. Recommendation: This section is commonly found in either the subdivision control ordinance or in traffic manuals. There is no need to include it in the zoning ordinance. If this provision changes in other ordinances, it would then be conflicting in the zoning ordinance. Additionally, these other ordinances have more standards regulating the size of signs, location of signals, etc.

Ensure Consistent Organization, Punctuation, Spelling and Capitalization Consistency makes ordinances easier to read and understand. Inconsistency can affect interpretation and applicability. Consistent Organization Do not repeat the same provision over in different sections. This leads to possible conflict in provisions if it changes in one place and not every other place in the ordinance. Consistent and Correct Punctuation Consistent and correct punctuation also aides the reader and makes regulations easier to understand. For example, the definition for “Access Point” uses a list of 3 criterion preceded by a colon, each separated by a semi-colon, and the second of the third item includes “…; or”. This is the correct form of a list like this, whether “and” or “or” is the correct conjunction. The definition of “Comprehensive (Master) Plan,” however, contains no such conjunction. Section 9.13,D,1 contains a list that mixes a semi-colon with periods, and no conjunction is used so it is not clear whether only one or all criterion must be met. Our recommendation is to either standardize on the colon/semi-colon format using an “and” or “or” to tie the individual subsections together, or the lead in is rewritten and periods are used at the end of each subsection. In most cases, the conjunction should be “and” so instead of saying, for example, “…the minimum area and yard requirements may be less than required by this ordinance provided that:” you could say “…the minimum area and yard requirements may be less than required by this ordinance provided that all the following requirements are met.” removing the need for the semi-colons and the conjunction.


Fort Mitchell Code Assessment

Consistent Spelling A consistent numbering convention is necessary. Unless a number starts a sentence, larger numbers should be written with numerals. Numerals are easier to read and the eye processes them more quickly than the text form of numbers. A typical number convention may be that numbers zero to ten are written out, but numbers 11 and greater are in numeral form. Whatever the convention, it should be followed. It is also wordy and completely unnecessary to follow number text with numerals in parentheses, such as in 9.14,B,7. (Not followed in 9.30.A.89 and in many other subsections.) This convention was popular and necessary when numbers were written by hand to make sure the reader understood even if they could not read the handwriting. It is completely unnecessary and space-consuming in modern typed documents. Consistent Capitalization Consistent capitalization is another feature that aides understanding and interpretation. Often, typical writing capitalization conventions do not apply to ordinances. Instead, local governments choose to capitalize certain words to make it clear when they are referring to a person, board, commission, or ordinance. Planning Commission, Board of Adjustment, Zoning Administrator, and County are examples of terms and names not consistently capitalized throughout the ordinance.

Use of Graphics and Tables Most ordinances have moved away from the use of lists, similar to what is used in this ordinance. Updated ordinances use tables to organize and communicate information. Consider the following examples of the effective use of tables in another ordinance. The first is a different way of communicating individual district characteristics. The same ordinance uses the following use table format (excerpt). Tables can communicate design requirements effectively, especially when requirements apply to more than one district, as illustrated below (from the same ordinance as above). Tables such as these allow at-a-glance comparisons across districts and, conversely, across criteria. They condense information and easily lend themselves to checklists for both staff and applicants.


Fort Mitchell Code Assessment


Fort Mitchell Code Assessment


Fort Mitchell Code Assessment


Fort Mitchell Code Assessment

Graphics to Illustrate Requirements and Other Information The new ordinance should have many more graphics throughout that are used strategically and effectively to illustrate ideas and requirements. Some examples you may want to consider include:


Fort Mitchell Code Assessment

Other Considerations Zoning Districts Fort Mitchell has an excess number of residential districts when compared to the size of the community. Each district was created to minimize nonconformities and at times a district is only different from another district by one use. In many cases, combining these districts and creating specific use standards will all the City to address issues associated with a use and minimize the complexity of the districts. The areas highlighted in orange, illustrate very small differences in district standards. It is unlikely someone walking by a property in the R-1F, and the R-1G districts would notice the difference in the standards. R-RE








Lot Size (sq.ft.)

3 acres








Lot Width (ft)









Front Yard (ft)









Side Yard (ft)


20 / 7

18 / 6

18 / 5

15 / 5




Rear Yard (ft)


















*Two or multi-family housing districts

Non-Conformity In many communities, development occurred before zoning was established. This creates a conflict when many of these zoning districts do not accurately represent what is currently in the area. These districts are also inflexible and would not allow similar structures to be built today. To encourage reinvestment and interest within existing neighborhoods, new flexible standards will be needed to allow for infill, remodels, and additions, which match and preserve the existing character.


Example: 9.12,B,1. “Continuance: Except as herein provided, the lawful use of any structure or land existing at the time of the adoption of this ordinance may be continued although such use does not conform to the provisions of this ordinance -- it shall become a legal nonconforming use. However, no nonconforming use or structure may be enlarged or extended beyond its area of use at the time it becomes a legal nonconforming use, unless and until the use is brought into conformance with all provisions of this ordinance.”

Solution: “Existing uses that were legally established prior to adoption or amendment of this ordinance shall be considered legal nonconforming uses but may not expand more than xx square feet (or percentage).”

Solution: “Nonconforming structures: o

Are permitted to make both site and building improvements if such improvement does not increase the degree of nonconformity.


May be expanded one time up to 25% of the gross floor area provided they meet all other development standards (e.g. parking requirements, landscaping, screening, etc.).


Expansion of a nonconforming structure may not expand onto another zoning lot.”

Fort Mitchell Code Assessment

Flag Lots Flag lots create an atypical development pattern that requires unique attention in the ordinance. Typical zoning ordinances create setbacks assuming the parcel has a direct relationship to the rightof-way or street. In the case of a flag lot, an easement or narrow strip of land connects them to the street for access. To regulate these lots appropriately, new sets of regulations will need to address these issues: •

Setbacks require a new approach offering an appropriate level of privacy to the flag lot owner while avoiding encroaching on other properties.

Screening, landscaping, and buffering standards will have to address the property differently due to the parcel lacking a traditional front yard. New standards may allow similar treatment of all four sides.

Topography will need to be taken into consideration when developing standards for flag lots as it could impact the height and compatibility of infill development.

The City has discussed flag lots through the years but has yet to develop a standard that applies to all lots. Through this process perhaps an option will emerge that will work. New infill standards may help to address some needs. Infill Development Many neighborhoods developed in the same period creating a similar style and characteristics between homes. Many citizens value this uniformity, but zoning regulations often do not address it. Typical standards only regulate height, bulk, and setbacks. This limits the ability of the regulations to control new development that replaces older structures. Newer ordinances will often attempt to match the existing character by addressing setbacks, building massing, and street treatment or frontages. These are just a few items that can be regulated to avoid incompatible development. The illustrations of incompatible and compatible development demonstrate this. The first image shows how a typical zoning ordiance would allow an incompatible development and how it clearly does not fit within the neighborhood. The second image illustrates compatible new homes that conform to existing development patterns.


Fort Mitchell Code Assessment

Parking and Access Management For most communities, parking is an issue – typically, the perception is that strip centers are over parked and downtowns under parked. Zoning regulations for the last few decades have encouraged isolated and oversized lots. These regulations have been difficult for applicants to achieve. There have been changes in the approaches to parking which have addressed these issues. Many communities are moving to maximum parking requirements, shared parking requirements, mixed-use parking standards, no requirements; and focusing on the design and location of parking on the site and in relationship to the roadway and the building. Besides parking, access management is another element that many communities are including in their ordinances. Congestion is increasing in many commercial and business corridors because of multiple curb cuts along the roadway. This causes safety issues with vehicle-to-vehicle accidents when vehicles turning in and out of the driveway. There are also accidents involving vehicles and pedestrians, and vehicles and bicycles. To solve this issue, many communities limit the number of curb cuts on the roadway, require safe distances between driveways or new roads and intersections, require frontage roads parallel to the main roadway, and require cross access between parking lots.


Fort Mitchell Code Assessment

Signage The First Amendment protects signs by requiring zoning regulations to be content neutral. In the 2015 Reed v. Town of Gilbert ruling, the United States Supreme Court limited communities from regulating signs based on their content. This has made many communities’ sign ordinances unlawful. To address this, sign ordinances now regulate elements such as appearance, size, location, etc. Like their use in the zoning districts, tables can help quickly illustrate which sign types are permitted in a district and the permitted size, height, location, etc. allowed for each type. The addition of visual aids gives developers and residents a better understanding of a sign’s intended form and character.


Fort Mitchell Code Assessment


The following comments are largely in addition to any other comments previously shared with the City of Fort Mitchell including, but not limited to, reorganization, simplification and clarification of language, and content. Comments ARTICLE I A ZONING ORDINANCE

Combine articles I through VI

ARTICLE II AUTHORITY AND PURPOSE Section 2.0 Authority Section 2.1 Purpose ARTICLE III SHORT TITLE Section 3.0 Short Title ARTICLE IV INTERPRETATION Section 4.0 Greater Restriction Section 4.1 Permit Or License In Violation

Reword to say “Despite the requirements or intent of any other provisions of this ordinance or those of any other ordinance, rule, code, permit, or regulation of the city;”


Combine articles I through VI

Section 5.0 Conflict ARTICLE VI SEVERABILITY CLAUSE Section 6.0 Severability Clause ARTICLE VII DEFINITIONS Section 7.0 Words And Phrases

Separate words and phrases from definitions and expand this list. Review definitions for completeness and relevance, and for clarity and conformity with any other definition (e.g. state, building code) to make sure they complement and do not conflict. Remove definitions that are not referenced in the code. If definition is deemed necessary, then make sure all words and phrases in definitions are used in the code.


Fort Mitchell Code Assessment

Many of the definitions related to sexually-oriented businesses are not used in the ordinance. If these businesses are prohibited why are they defined in the definitions article? Definitions should not contain the word they are defining in the definition. (e.g. Agriculture, Board of Adjustments, etc.) Remove the definition for “Anybody” and “Everybody” and consider replacing them with one definition for “Person.” Definitions like Child-Care Center should not contain additional definitions within its definition. There is not definition of “mixed use” and how it will affect land use decisions. (KCPC implementation committee) Most regulations are more appropriate as a condition to a specific use or another section (e.g. Floor Area, Gross; Neighborhood; Qualified Manufactured Home; etc.) Remove all regulation from definitions. Most regulations are more appropriate as a condition to a specific use or another section (e.g. Floor Area, Gross; Neighborhood; Qualified Manufactured Home; etc.) Make sure all words and phrases in definitions are used in the code. Refer to uses/items in layman's terms where possible, the technical detail can be provided in the definition. ARTICLE VIII ESTABLISHMENT OF ZONES Section 8.0 Zones

Consider consolidation of some zones to reflect more modern practices with specific conditions for certain uses as opposed to having two districts with the same requirements but where one district allows for one or two additional use. See more specific comments in Article X.

Section 8.1 Official Zoning Map Section 8.2 Changes On Zoning Map


This section may require updating. Most zoning maps exist digitally. The map is likely managed by the city or PDS and one of which could be designated as the official holder of the map in the digital format. It is recommended that the

Fort Mitchell Code Assessment

city clarifies that the state statues do not require a physical map. Section 8.3 Replacement Of Official Zoning Map

This section may be irrelevant if it is deemed appropriate to have an official zoning map in a digital format.

Section 8.4 Rules For Interpretation Of Zone Boundaries Section 8.5 Areas Not Included Within Zones ARTICLE IX GENERAL REGULATIONS Section 9.0 Purpose Section 9.1 Reduction In Building Site Area

Section could be re-written to be more concise with simpler language.

Section 9.2 Interference With Traffic Signals

Remove. Covered in other codes.

Section 9.3 Vision Clearance At Corners, Curb Cuts, And Railroad Crossings

Suggest retitling “Sight Distance” and using graphics to explain content. Sight distance/visual clearance is discussed in several places in the ordinance. These could be consolidated into one section within a “Development Standards” article.

Section 9.4 Frontage on Corner Lots and and Double Frontage Lots

Make sure corner lots and double frontage lots are defined in definition. Does the requirement for one-half the front yard distance work? Determine if this section can be reworked to reduce applicants’ frustration.

Section 9.5 Utilities Location

Delete. Covered by KRS 100.324

Section 9.6 Railroad Rights-Of-Way Location

This section should be deleted. KRS 100.324 would cover this section.

Section 9.7 Excavation, Movement Of Soil, Tree Removal, And Erosion And Sedimentation Control

Suggest you retitle this Nuisances Prohibited, broadening its applicability, and address litter, dirt and debris resulting from land development or building activities to then include section 9.7. Revise to reflect Sanitation District’s jurisdiction over any land disturbance on one acre or more in size and provide clear regulations for disturbances on less than one acre.

Section 9.8 Unsightly Or Unsanitary Storage


Fort Mitchell Code Assessment

Section 9.9 Junkyard Location

Remove this section. This was carried over by the model code. Although there is an existing junkyards they are not currently permitted in any district.

Section 9.10 Application Of Zoning Regulations Move “A” to a new article addressing applicability and conformity in Article 1. This is too important to be buried in the General Regulations article. Then, reorganize the rest of this article so that the essential elements are new sections and simplify the language. Add graphics to help explain C and D. Section 9.11 Special Requirements Governing Home Occupations

Move to a use chapter that identifies Specific Uses, or similarly titled, article/section. Many codes allow up to one person, not living on the premises, to be employed in the home occupation.

Section 9.12 Nonconforming Lots, Nonconforming Uses, Nonconforming Structures, Repairs And Maintenance, And Nonconforming Signs

Create a nonconformity chapter. Consider adding a statement about nonconforming design to address situations where existing structures or lots do not conform to design standards such as ones that govern elements like dumpster enclosures, antennae, or stormwater reduction/treatment. B.1. addresses structures and lots, which should be covered in C or A. The structure and lot language should be deleted. B.4., C.3., and E.3. need to be moved and perhaps deleted in favor of a broad statement at the beginning of this section. In order to lessen the number of nonconformities, consider allow a percentage of expansion or change before coming into compliance with the ordinance. Termination procedures could be consolidated under a general nonconformity section. Consideration should be given to the relevance of the requirement for the BoA to review a termination. This section should be consistent across all communities.

Section 9.13 Exceptions And Modifications

C.2. front yard depth shall not be less than 12 feet. What about townhomes or apartments in a more urban, walkable environment? Include graphics as needed.


Fort Mitchell Code Assessment

B is not an exception. Rather it is a condition that needs to be moved to a new section on use standards. Remove any reference in this section to “variance” and replace with “exception.” The provisions in A, C, and D would stand out more if they were separate sections. That would make these provisions easier to find in the table of uses. Rewrite text to make it clearer. D, F, G – Remove any reference in this section to “variance” and replace with “exception.” Section 9.14 Conditional Uses

Refer to KRS 100 and move to BOA article. Replace B.3 through B.6 with a reference to KRS 100.237(3) – (6) and move items to appropriate sections of the code. The provisions in this section need to be moved to an administration article. Is the language “in the vicinity” working?. Most findings typically say “adjacent” instead. Also, rework this section so that key subsections stand out by using subsection titles. Language regarding inspections should be covered by broader language regarding right of inspection.

Section 9.15 Building Regulations And Water And Sanitary Sewer Service

Review this section for current relevance and clarity. “A” should be moved to the front of the code under a section on conformity. Review this section for current relevance and clarity. Section 9.15.A. should be moved to the front of the code under a section on conformity clarifying the loss of permit if in violation.

Section 9.16 Move And Set

B. is unnecessary since it should be covered globally. Administration regulations (C) should be moved to an administration section. Remove any sections covered by building codes and procedures. The physical movement of a structure from one lot to another or one portion of a lot to another is not a zoning issue except that it should be required to obtain a


Fort Mitchell Code Assessment

zoning permit indicating that its final location meets zoning criteria. One exception may be historic structures. Take out dollar amount of bond and move to a fee schedule. (D.2) Section 9.17 Screening Area

Move this section into a chapter on landscape requirements. Re-organize standards and expand to include other landscape requirements such as landscape parking lots, entrance into a subdivision, etc. Include graphics wherever possible. Should include general landscape area requirements for nonresidential properties. Section A4 is subjective. Need to provide regulations for “provided in such a manner as to obscure the view into the development from adjacent properties.” How is the term development used? Multiple lots comprise a development or is it one single parcel. Shouldn’t this reference incompatible land uses and provide a table with suggestions on which districts should be screened from which? Move submission requirements into process/administrative chapter and to the appropriate section for site plan review (C). Need to better define screening requirements. Basic standards - should have illustrations of different buffer types. Include a provision for credit of amount of existing material preserved. Move to caliper measurements as it is most common measurement among nurseries. Provide for a variety of options for screening. Include 1 year maintenance on new landscape.

Section 9.18 Outdoor Swimming Pools

Remove any regulations covered by building codes. If not covered in that code, update fence types and materials. Investigate using the International Swimming Pool and Spa Code, section 305 (Barrier Requirements) rather than zoning to address building and fencing standards. Lighting can be addressed under global standards that prevent light glare and trespass.


Fort Mitchell Code Assessment

Move to a new Conditions for Specific Uses, or similarly titled, article/section. Section 9.19 Site Plan Requirements Section 9.20 Plan Requirements - Stages I, II, And Record Plat

Consider relocating to a procedures article. Also, considerations should be given to combine Section 9.19 and 9.20. Consider rewriting these sections to offer staff the authority and responsibility to determine application completeness. Staff needs the ability to ask for additional information when needed, and to exempt information that isn’t relevant to the application submitted. Section 9.19, paragraph 1, and paragraph 2., Site plans are required with permits. PDS staff, the Planning Commission, authorized representative should not be involved with reviewing site plans for permits. Clarity should be written in that reviews should be done by the Zoning Administrator. Consider reviewing and revising the steps and approval authorities.

Section 9.21 Regulations Concerning Air Rights

Delete this section.

Section 9.22 Regulations Concerning Design And Construction Of Improvements

Clarify that these streets and improvements are to be public or private

Section 9.23 Regulations Pertaining To Parking Or Storing Of Trailers, Mobile Homes, Campers, Inoperable Vehicles, And Other Such Type Equipment

Move to a new Conditions for Specific Uses, or similarly titled, article/section. Clarify the number of such equipment that is allowed on the property consistent with staff interpretation.

Section 9.24 Hillside Development Controls

B.1. Now referred to as Developmentally Sensitive Areas (DSAs) B.2.—require the engineer to submit a sealed statement or a statement on the sealed plan. May want them to submit their calculations and assumptions for review by the city engineer, too. Consider rewriting this section. This section causes difficulty because few cities have engineers review these documents in some cases PDS is responsible. This section should be reevaluated.


Fort Mitchell Code Assessment

Section 9.25 General Mobile Home Regulations

Move to a new Conditions for Specific Uses, or similarly titled, article/section.

Section 9.26 Filing Of Certificate Of Land Use Restriction

Remove specific fees from this code and put into a fee ordinance.

Section 9.27 Phased Zoning Regulations

Determine if this is working for your community or if it needs revisions or removal from the ordinance.

9.28 Compatibility Standards for Qualified Manufactured Housing

Consolidate administrative processes and procedures. Remaining use conditions should be moved to the specific use section. Clarify the difference between a manufactured home and a qualified manufactured home. Cross reference to definition.

Section 9.29 Regulations Of Sexually Oriented Businesses

Review carefully for opportunities to consolidate and simplify. Consolidate administrative processes and definitions with more general sections. The regulatory components could be left in the ordinance while the bulk of the document is only referenced. The case law and background could be managed as a separate document by the city, county, or PDS.

Section 9.30 Flood Protection Development Controls

Review carefully against the latest FEMA requirements and current city practices. Consider reorganizing for greater clarity such as placing definitions in the overall definitions section (with hyperlinks), and moving administrative and enforcement material to those sections of the code. There are several sections that are unnecessary since it is already capture in the overall code.


Rework all of the zone pages to provide a more userfriendly description and consolidation of information. Establish a “specific conditions for certain uses” section and use that as another use category. Determine if there are any conditional uses that can be shifted over to uses permitted with conditions. Consider consolidating some zones to reflect modern practices with specific conditions for certain uses as opposed to having two different districts with the same requirements but with slight variations in use. Establish a table of permitted uses.


Fort Mitchell Code Assessment

Review every district to determine its relevance to your jurisdiction. Look for opportunities to combine districts and create more mixed-use or mixed-residential districts. Generalize the list of uses based on land use impact to avoid constant amendment of code. Establish a “specific conditions for certain uses” section and use that as another use category. Determine if there are any conditional uses that can be shifted over to uses permitted with conditions. Section 10.0 CO (Conservation) Zone Section 10.1 R-RE (Residential Rural Estate) Zone Section 10.2 R-1C (Residential One-C) Zone

Since this district doesn’t show up on the zoning map delete.

Examine these districts and determine what is most important to the community. There may be the ability to consolidate them into fewer districts.

Section 10.3 R-1D (Residential One-D) Zone 10-9 Section 10.4 R-1E (Residential One-E) Zone Section 10.5 R-1F (Residential One-F) Zone 1017 Section 10.6R-1G (Residential One-G) Zone 1021 Section 10.7 R-2 (Residential Two) Zone Section 10.8 R-3a (Residential Three) Zone Section 10.9 PUD (Planned Unit Development) Overlay Zone

Consider making this a base district instead. Consolidate and clarify administrative provisions and move to the appropriate part(s) of the code.

Section 10.10 RCD (Residential Cluster

Section 10.11 MHP (Mobile Home Park) Overlay Zone


You could regulate MH though use standards. If keeping, consolidate and clarify administrative provisions and move to the appropriate part(s) of the code.

Fort Mitchell Code Assessment

Section 10.12 LHS (Limited Highway Service) Zone Section 10.13 LSC (Limited Service Commercial) Zone Section 10.14 NC (Neighborhood Commercial) Zone Section 10.15 PO (Professional Office Building) Zone Section 10.16 SC (Shopping Center) Zone

There are several opportunities for consolidation of commercial districts. Overall desires one general commercial zone with flexibility. Allow greater flexibility in uses while regulating site and building characteristics, scale, access, building materials, etc. to ensure compatibility. The PO and PO-1 districts should have clearly defined purposes and standards that achieve their intended result. One district is used to manage conversion of residences to commercial uses.

Section 10. 20 PO-1 (Professional Office One) Zone Section 10.17 C-PUD (Commercial Planned Unit Development) Overlay Zone

Make PUD a base district for both residential and commercial.

Section 10.18 MLU (Mixed Land Use) Zone

Remove application and process information and place in administration section.

Section 10.19 MBLU (Mixed Business Land Use) Zone

MLU requires a 15 acres minimum. Acts similar to a PUD. MBLU requires 10 acre minimum. Allows horizontal mixing of uses. Consider combining both districts and drop the minimum acreage. If concerned about design, the develop use criteria for this district or design standards.

ARTICLE XI OFF-STREET PARKING AND ACCESS CONTROL REGULATIONS Section 11.0 General Requirements Section 11.1 Design And Layout Of Off-Street Parking Areas

Use tables to display data more efficiently and effectively. Allow offsite and shared parking as a right provided certain conditions are met. Consider time of use in determining compliance. Develop standards for structured parking.

Section 11.2 Specific Off-Street Parking Requirements

Develop standards for curb cuts and driveway locations that make those decisions staff level.

Section 11.3 Access Control Regulations

Use graphics to display information related to parking lot design. Simplify parking lot design criteria. Make low impact design the preferred design method. Move specific paving requirements to a design manual?


Fort Mitchell Code Assessment

Allow on-street parking to count in some locations. Carefully review parking amounts. Should you consider parking maximum’s? Or minimums and maximums? Merge sight distance material with general standards. Simplify access control standards. Ensure new development connects appropriately with existing development infrastructure. ARTICLE XII OFF-STREET LOADING AND/OR UNLOADING REGULATIONS

Consider stripping out everything but essential elements that protect public interest and safety. For example, dock height.

Section 12.0 General Requirements

Review the spaces required and ensure that standards are representative of today’s standards.

Section 12.1 Design And Layout Of Off-Street Loading and/or Unloading Areas

Add graphics


Separate fence and wall standards from sight triangle obstructions. Move obstruction material to general use standards and merge with other sight distance material. Also, fence requirements around pools may need to be updated to include modern fence types, if not covered by the building code.

Move provisions for screening and landscaping to landscape chapter and reference that section.

These standards could be merged with the general article on Screening, buffering, and landscaping. Section 13.0 Vision Clearance At Corners And Railroad Crossings

Move obstruction material to general use standards and merge with other sight distance material. A 50 foot sight triangle may not be required in all situations. Consider using road classification to identify the sight triangle.

Section 13.1 Classification Of Fences And Walls

Separate fence and wall standards from sight triangle obstructions. The classification system is unusual. Consolidate these sections into a matrix that identifies permitted materials and height based on use. Consider changing barbed wire to security fencing and including concertina wire.


Fort Mitchell Code Assessment

Section 13.2 Conservation and Agricultural Zones

The section on Conservation and Agriculture is not needed since there are not those zones.

Section 13.3 Residential Zones

Remove reference to industrial zones because there are not any in the code.

Section 13.4 Commercial And Industrial Zones

Section 13.5 Measurement Of All Fence and/or Wall Heights and/or Locations

The classification system is unusual. Consolidate these sections into a matrix that identifies permitted materials and height based on use. Consider moving to a general section on measurements. Add language that measurement is from adjacent grade and that grade cannot be artificially modified to result in taller fence. Hedges as a fence are difficult to enforce.

Section 13.6 Height Of Any Barbed Wire Or Sharp Pointed Fences Section 13.7 Height of Fences Atop Retaining Walls Section 13.8 Electrified Fences Section 13.9 Permit Required For Erection Of Fences

Not needed. Move to the general administration section.

Section 13.10 Structural Elements Of Fences

Revise this section and add graphics to make it easier to understand.

Section 13.11 Special Development Zones

Review. If this is not used, then delete section.


Consider using tables to better arrange and simplify information throughout this article. If a majority of this section is modified to be table based then, a short section which describes each sign type with an illustration should precede the tables. Regulations should also take into consideration the new model recommendations by KCPC.

Section 14.0 Title

Not needed.

Section 14.1 Regulatory Scope Section 14.2 Purpose And Intent Section 14.3 Authority

Simplify and expand purpose statement. Combine these together.

Section 14.4 Interests Served


Fort Mitchell Code Assessment

Section 14.5 Basic Policies

Simplify. Scope statement is not necessary. Compliance section needs to state that such signs are forfeit and may be removed and disposed of without notice or compensation. Need to say that temporary signs, including posts or other supports, need to be located wholly on private property and must not interfere with regulated sight triangles. Move administrative provisions to that chapter.

Section 14.6 Prohibited Sign Types

Need to define “new billboards?” Compliance section needs to state that such signs are forfeit and may be removed and disposed of without notice or compensation. Need to say that temporary signs, including posts or other supports, need to be located wholly on private property and must not interfere with regulated sight triangles

Section 14.7 Special Signs Section 14.8 Sign Permit Required For Erection Of Signs

Review carefully. This section should be covered by a general ordinance administration/process section and nonconformances.

Section 14.9 Appeals

Move to administrative section and reference that section. Review carefully. This section should be covered by a general administration section and nonconformances.

Section 14.10 Reserved


Section 14.11 Definitions

Definitions should be combined with definitions section. Measurements should be moved to a special measurements section.

Section 14.12 Sign Permit Fees Section 14.13 Classification of Signs


Section 14.14 Permitted Sign Location, Type, And Size

Review and update as necessary based on zone consolidation. Put into table format.


Revise this section because there are not any industrial districts. Can probably make many of these use conditions.

Section 15.0 Application Of Performance Standards

Probably not needed; should be covered under general applicability language.


Fort Mitchell Code Assessment

Section 15.1 Time Schedule For Compliance Of Performance Standards

Probably not needed; should be covered under general applicability language

Section 15.2 Performance Standards

“A”,“B” , and “K” are conditions, not performance standards. These should be moved to a conditions section. Rework “C” so that it is clearer and more concise. “M” should be true for anybody pretty much. Simplify and collapse tables. Make sure standards are enforceable.


Expand this section to include roles and responsibilities and site plan requirements. Rework section once all administrative provisions are moved from other sections of the ordinance. Should include roles for all entities involved with planning and zoning unless broken out similar to the Board of Adjustment. Sections of this article could be removed because they are governed by building codes.

Section 16.0 Enforcing Officer


Section 16.1 Zoning Permits Section 16.2 Building Permits Section 16.3 Certificate Of Occupancy

Remove. Code enforcement is handled by a separate ordinance and governed under a separate KRS chapter.

Section 16.4 Certificate Of Occupancy For Existing Building Section 16.5 Certificate Of Occupancy For Lawful Nonconforming Uses And Structures Section 16.6 Denial Of Certificate Of Occupancy

Remove these since they should be governed by the building code.

Section 16.7 Certificate Of Occupancy Records Section 16.8 Complaints Regarding Violations

Remove. Code enforcement is handled by a separate ordinance and governed under a separate KRS chapter.

Section 16.9 Penalties Section 16.10 Intent Concerning Determinations Involved In Administration And Enforcement Of Performance Standards


Remove any fee’s here or throughout the Ordinance as it is covered by a separate ordinance. Remove this section. It is covered by a separate ordinance. For communities

Fort Mitchell Code Assessment

who do not have a schedule of fees, one will need to be created and adopted by the legislative body. Section 16.11 Duties Of Zoning Administrator Regarding Performance Standards

Move to the beginning of this chapter and expanded to cover all duties of the Zoning Administrator.


Most of this is in state law. Remove detail and reference state law where possible.

Section 17.0 Amendment Procedure Section 17.1 Northern Kentucky Area Planning Commission Staff Review And Recommendation Required Prior To Or At The Scheduled Public Hearing

Consider KRS 100.2111 Alternative Map Amendment procedure.

Section 17.2 Actions Of Local Governmental Units To Be Furnished To The Northern Kentucky Area Planning Commission ARTICLE XVIII BOARD OF ADJUSTMENT

Consider external reference to KRS Chapter 100.217100.271 for all provisions governed by state code. If they are ever amended by the legislature your code stays up to date.

Section 18.0 Establishment Of Board Of Adjustment; Membership; Appointment; Terms; Vacancies; Oaths; Compensation; Removal; Officers Section 18.1 Meetings Of Boards; Quorum; Minutes; By Laws; Finances; Subpoena Power; Administration Of Oaths Section 18.2 Procedure For All Appeals To Board Section 18.3 Appeals From Planning Commission Or Board Of Adjustment Or Legislative Body Section 18.4 Stay Of Proceedings Section 18.5 Powers Of Board Of Adjustment Section 18.6 Variances; Change From One Nonconforming Use To Another; Conditions Governing Applications; Procedures


Split these and move into a process chapter or administrative chapter.

Fort Mitchell Code Assessment

Section 18.7 Conditional Use Permits

move into a process chapter or administrative chapter.

Section 18.8 Decisions Of The Board Of Adjustment Section 18.9 Actions Of Board Of Adjustment To Be Furnished To The Northern Kentucky Area Planning Commission ARTICLE XIX SCHEDULE OF FEES Section 19.0 Schedule Of Fees

Remove any fee’s here or throughout this section as it is covered by a separate ordinance. Remove this section because, it is covered by a separate ordinance. For communities who do not have a schedule of fees, one will need to be created and adopted by the legislative body.


Delete this article.


Should be able to remove in new code.



Fort Mitchell Code Assessment


The following outline is one way the Fort Mitchell Zoning Ordinance could be reorganized. It includes recommended new sections in red text for consideration by city officials. The comments in the previous section relating to changes in Fort Mitchell’s ordinance would be used in combination with this suggested Table of Contents (TOC) to create a new zoning ordinance for the City. No attempt was made to revise the language in the City’s Ordinance. Ordinance references may have relevance in their entirety or only in part, and while an attempt was made to identify all relevant ordinance citations, it is quite possible that additional provisions are needed. To help illustrate the detail to be incorporated into the detailed TOC, examples of subsections have been provided. Additional review and possible modifications may be needed after City review during the development of the Blueprint. Example Table of Contents Article 1 Purpose and Scope 1.01 Title 1.02 Authority 1.03 Intent and Purpose 1.04 Jurisdiction 1.05 Interpretation and Scope A. Greater Restriction; Conflicts

B. Permit or License in Violation C. Rules for Interpreting Zone Boundaries 1.06 Official Zoning Map 1.07 Zoning Map Rules & Interpretations 1.08 Zoning of Annexed Areas 1.09 Omissions 1.10 Severability 1.11 Repeal of Existing Code 1.12 Effective Date Article 2 Applicability and Conformity 2.01 General Applicability 2.02 Uniformity Within Districts 2.03 Conformity with Other Laws 2.04 Compliance Required 2.05 Application of Deed Restrictions

Current Code References 1.0 3.0 2.0 2.1 1.0 4.0 5.0 9.17 9.35 10.30 4.1 8.4 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 8.5 6.0 1.0 9.09.10

Article 3 Zoning Districts 43

Fort Mitchell Code Assessment

Example Table of Contents 3.01 Zoning Districts Established 3.02 Types of Zoning Districts (by category) A. Base Districts (New title and consolidated list) B. Overlay Districts D. Special Districts 3.03 Zoning Districts Described (organize by category or by type and then category) Article 4 General Regulations 4.01 Erection of Structures Only on Lots of Record 4.02 Reduction of Lot Area Restricted 4.03 Lot Coverage 4.04 Street Access Required 4.05 Clear Sight Distance Required 4.06 Site Plan Review Required 4.07 Demolition or Movement of Buildings or Structures 4.08 Exceptions and Modifications 4.09 Hillside Development Controls 4.10 Flood Protection Development Controls Article 5 Use Regulations 5.01 Establishment of a Table of Uses 5.02 Determination of Use Category 5.03 Determination of Principal Use 5.04 Table of Uses Article 6 Use Specific Conditions 6.01 Application 6.02 (Conditions by use should follow alphabetically or be linked to the table of uses by section number)

Article 7 Dimensional Requirements 7.01 Purpose and Applicability 7.02 Conformance 7.03 Modification of Requirements 7.04 Orientation of Required Yards 7.05 Permitted Encroachments 7.06 Setback and Yard Measurements, Buildable Area 7.07 Height and Bulk Measurements 7.08 Dimensional Standards Table


Current Code References 8.0


9.1 9.3 13.1 9.19 9.16 9.13 9.24 9.30 10.0

9.8 9.9 9.11 9.14 9.18 9.23 9.25 9.27 9.28 9.29 10.0

9.4A 9.4B 10.0 10.0

Fort Mitchell Code Assessment

Example Table of Contents Article 8 Development Standards 8.01 Purpose 8.02 Applicability 8.03 Relation to Overlay and Special Districts 8.04 Development Standards A. Access, and Circulation B. Site Lighting C. Building Form and Materials D. Accessory Uses and Equipment E. Landscaping and Buffers F. Fences, Walls, and Screens

G. Light, Odor, Noise, Vibration, and Dust H. Excavation, Movement of Soil, Tree Removal, and Erosion and Sedimentation Control L. Utility Locations Article 9 Nonconformities 9.01 Intent and Purpose 9.02 Existence of Nonconformity 9.03 Determination of Nonconformity 9.04 Nonconforming Lots 9.05 Nonconforming Uses 9.06 Nonconforming Structures, Excluding Signs 9.07 Nonconforming Signs 9.08 Nonconforming Billboards 9.09 Nonconforming Design Elements 9.10 Changes of Tenancy and Ownership 9.11 Nonconforming Design Elements Article 10 Parking & Loading Standards 10.01 General Parking Requirements 10.02 Calculation of Off-Street Parking Requirements 10.03 Parking for Changes in or Expansions of an Existing Use 10.04 Location of Parking


Current Code References


9.17 13.1 13.3 13.4 13.5 13.6 13.7 13.8 13.9 13.10 13.11 15.0 15.1 15.2 9.7 9.5 9.15 9.12

11.0 11.0 11.0

Fort Mitchell Code Assessment

Example Table of Contents 10.05 Access and Specifications 10.06 Parking Flexibility, Bonus 10.07 Shared Parking 10.08 Overflow Parking, Event and Temporary Parking, and Parking on Unpaved Surfaces 10.09 Excess Parking 10.10 Pedestrian and Bicycle Access, Circulation and Parking 10.11 Table of Off-Street Parking Spaces Required 10.12 Parking for Uses Not Listed 10.13 Parking Space Dimension Requirements and Design 10.14 General Loading Requirements 10.15 Calculation of Loading Requirements 10.16 Location and Design of Loading Areas Article 11 Signs 11.01 Purpose 11.02 General Requirements

11.03 Sign Types Requiring Permits 11.04 Signs Exempt from Permits 11.05 Prohibited Sign Types 11.06 Prohibited Sign Conditions 11.07 Permitted Signs by Zoning District 11.08 Permitted Sign Size and Site Locations 11.09 Additional Design Requirements Article 12 Administrative Roles and Responsibilities 12.01 Zoning Administrator 12.02 Enforcement Officer 12.03 Technical Review Committee 12.04 Planning Commission 12.05 Legislative Body 12.06 Board of Adjustment

Article 13 Procedures and Processes 13.01 General Application Requirements 46

Current Code References 11.3

11.2 11.1 12.0 12.0 12.1 14.2 14.4 14.1 14.3 14.4 14.5 14.4 14.6 14.7 14.8 14.9 14.14 14.6 16.11 16.0 17.1 14.5 18.0 18.1 18.2 18.3 18.4 18.5 18.8 18.9 9.20 Fort Mitchell Code Assessment

Example Table of Contents 13.02 Application Requirements 13.03 Zoning Permits 13.04 Sign Permits 13.05 Building Permits 13.06 Map Amendments (Rezonings)

13.07 Text Amendments 13.08 Conditional Use Permits 13.09 Appeals 13.10 Variances 13.11 Waivers 13.12 Site Plan Review 13.13 Certificates of Zoning Compliance 13.14 Certificates of Occupancy A. New Buildings B. Existing Buildings C. Nonconforming Uses & Structures D. Denials 13.15 Specific Remedies and Penalties 13.16 Complaints 13.17 Notice of Violation 13.18 Penalties 13.19 Judicial Enforcement Article 14 Definitions 14.01 Interpretation of Words and Terms 14.02 General Definitions


Current Code References 16.1 14.12 17.0 17.1 17.2 17.3 17.0 17.1 17.2 18.7 9.14 14.14 18.6

16.3 16.4 16.5 16.6 16.7 16.8 16.8 16.9

7.0 14.11

Fort Mitchell Code Assessment