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Plan sets city’s course for the next five years

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By Kristin Beck

After months of hard work by Planning and Zoning, Code Enforcement Officer Art Zook and representatives from the Northern Kentucky Area Development District, the 2011 Comprehensive Plan is complete.

Planning and Zoning unanimously voted Monday to accept the plan and submit it to Carrollton City Council for final approval.

The comprehensive plan is a guideline for the direction the city of Carrollton for the next few years. The plan is updated every five years and includes population, housing and economic statistics; a variety of maps, including a sidewalk inventory, topography and the current and future land usage; and analysis and recommendations in each chapter.

Zook said he will be sending the comprehensive plan to the state and will be looking into where the public can look at a copy.

“We’ve been very, very involved in getting this comprehensive plan done, and I want to thank the members … for all their hard work,” Zook said during the meeting.

The packet begins with goals and objectives for the comprehensive plan. These include encouraging rehabilitation and conservation of the existing housing while encouraging the removal of undesirable existing housing; encouraging and promoting the development of a stable and diversified economic base for the community; and providing adequate, efficient and cost-effective community facilities and services to meet current and anticipated future needs.

According to the comprehensive plan, Carrollton’s population is 3,938, about 36 percent of the county’s 10,811. A graph shows that both the city and county populations are increasing, but the city is growing at a much slower rate. Another graph shows that Carrollton’s percentage of the county population has been decreasing sine 1980.

When asked what she thought were the biggest changes from the last comprehensive plan to the 2011 plan, NKADD intern Shannon Ratterman noted the population change. She said she thinks the county’s faster rate is due to space constraints in the city.

In the new plan, the numbers also show that the Hispanic population has grown from 4.4 percent in 2000 to 9.24 percent in 2010.

The other surprising factor Ratterman noticed was in the housing sector. The percentage of owner and renter occupied housing units in Carrollton was 50 percent in 2009, compared to 53 vs. 47 percent in 2000 and 55 vs. 45 percent in 1990. The rate stayed about the same in the county, with the owner to renter percentage at 66 vs. 34 percent in 2009, just a 1 percent difference from 2000. The trend statewide and nationwide is closer to that of the county, two-thirds to one-third. Under the analysis and recommendations, the plan encourages the city to take action to increase the percentage of owner-occupied housing, but does not provide any steps on how to achieve this goal.

The comprehensive survey measured employment in two different ways: “occupation by industry,” statistics by industry of where people who reside in Carroll County, but do not necessarily work in Carroll County, and “employment by industry,” a measure by the Bureau of Economic Analysis measuring the number of people who work in Carroll County, but do not necessarily live in Carroll County.

According to “occupation by industry,” manufacturing and retail trade have decreased over the last decade, while transportation, warehousing, and utilities and construction are on the rise. In “employment by industry,” the county’s economy is dominated by manufacturing and services. By comparing the two numbers, readers can see what skill sets are available in county residents but not being met by county employment, as well as what jobs are available in the county that are attracting workers from outside of it.

In the transportation sector, Carrollton is working to implement Complete Street strategies, which will promote safe streets for all modes of transportation, from motorists to bicyclists to pedestrians. The recent Safe Routes to School project and Polk Street extension project are two ways the city has already made improvements to the safety of its roads. According to the report, pedestrian-friendly streets are important to a city because it promotes better health habits and air quality and higher property values, community connectivity and community participation.

In the section on the environment, vice-chairman Ed Raker pointed out that the Hydrology and Flood Hazards map needed to be updated. Commissioner Sam Burgess said the map incorrectly shows Bishops Trace and the southeastern section of Port William Lane out of the flood plain when it needs to be included.

Meghan Sandfoss, public administration and development coordinator for NKADD, said she did not see any documentation that it was incorrect. Mayor Gene McMurry said Bishop’s Trace would not be able to sell real estate there without it, and Flood Plain Manager Mitchell Perkins should have a copy in his office.

City Attorney Nick Marsh said it was important to update the map because those living on Port William will need to purchase flood insurance if they try to refinance or sell their property. He said he would talk to Perkins about the map.

The purpose of the land use section of the comprehensive plan is to guide future decisions by P&Z and city council regarding development proposals and when locating new public facilities and infrastructure. The plan recommends revising the zoning code and its application to make it more functional and beneficial to residents, including adding at least one “mixed-use” zoning area. This issue has been tabled by P&Z until the completion of the comprehensive plan, but will begin to be discussed again at the next meeting.

The plan also encouraged reusing some of the old tobacco warehouses to maintain the city’s heritage. Only those that are structurally sound, environmentally safe and economically feasible should be reused.

The next Planning and Zoning meeting is at 7 p.m. on June 6 at Carrollton City Hall.