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Covington redesigns neighborhood development code to make growth cheaper and easier

Covington hopes zoning overhaul will promote development.jpg
Posted at 11:05 PM, Sep 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-28 23:23:27-04

COVINGTON, Ky. — Whether you want to build a new front porch or a new apartment complex, taking on a project in Covington can be a headache. A new neighborhood development code, designed to streamline the process and draw in new businesses, is being put into place in October.

The city of Covington admits, for years, its zoning code was as set in stone as the historic buildings that give the Northern Kentucky city its charm.

“What that did was it made it very expensive, very time consuming and very bureaucratic,” said Covington Economic Development Director Tom West.

The same was true for new and historic buildings, and large and small builds. Projects required approval from two separate boards, and it wasn’t always easy to get.

“A lot of times we were ping-ponging people back and forth between those boards,” West said. “One board would decide one thing, the other board would decide they didn’t like that and they would go back and forth.”

That made getting new projects started very time-consuming and expensive. In early 2019, West said they started working on a way to change the process.

“What we did was we said ‘Okay, let’s get rid of that and let’s make what we have that we treasure and we love about our community legal,’” he said. “So that new things that are developed will be developed in the context of what was historic and what we love."

It's a system designed down to the letter – making it easier to come to Covington and grow.

“What will come up is only what you need for your property,” West said. “And it will all be right there. You won’t have to flip through hundreds and hundreds of pages of paper to find them. It really is the community’s code.”

Anyone curious about Covington’s new neighborhood development code, in effect Oct. 15, can access it here.