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New online tool provides searchable zoning data in Covington’s Neighborhood Development Code

With a few clicks of a computer key, you can now access the answers to hundreds of questions zoning and use of properties in within the City of Covington.

The city created an online search tool that allows users to zero in on a particular address, then find out how it’s treated and/or regulated by the City’s Neighborhood Development Code (NDC).

The Code is a new approach to land use that last year replaced a Zoning Ordinance widely criticized as outdated, ineffective, rigid, and both frustrating and costly to navigate for developers, residents, and investors.

“Ordinances can be overwhelming if you’re not familiar with them, but this tool, in particular, makes the NDC user-friendly and accessible,” said Dalton Belcher, the City’s Zoning and Development Specialist. “It takes a lot of the mystery out of the Code and arms people with the information they need when making decisions about properties.”

In the old days, people could call the City and begin asking questions about properties and regulations, but too often those conversations started at so-called ground zero and took up a lot of time and only circled around the relevant issues.

“We’re certainly here to talk to people, but it’s much more efficient and effective if people come into a conversation with some basic knowledge related to their plan or idea and some specific questions,” Belcher said. “If they know the possible hurdles, we can help them jump over them or get around them. People like to know upfront what they’re getting into, and that helps them determine whether the project is worth going forward on.”

The online tool can be found online at covingtonky.maps.arcgis.com. It’s also available on the larger “Zoning” division page found at www.covingtonky.gov

Users can search by address or property identification number (PIDN) or by clicking on the map and using the cursor wheel to zoom in on a property. If “location services” are enabled on a smartphone, users can also search by “current location.”

From there, users can find out what zone/district a property falls into and what regulations govern that district and property.

The map and search tool was created by Todd Sink, Covington’s Manager of Analytics and Intelligence. Sink said an average of 18 people per day have used the tool since it was posted to the City’s website, even though its existence hasn’t been publicized and it’s difficult to find.

“This tool greatly enhances the City’s commitment to improving customer service,” Sink said. “Once the word gets out, we expect that number to grow substantially.”

The City kicked off the transformation to the NDC in November 2018, when the Board of Commissioners voted to hire Kendig Keast Collaborative, a Texas-based zoning code development firm with offices in the Commonwealth.

With the help of a 16-member steering committee, which put in hundreds of hours of work, the firm worked with City staff to create a Covington-based set of guidelines and held 20 separate events at which it invited the public to give input. The Code was adopted in October 2020.

Covington’s Neighborhood Development Code can be accessed online at online.encodeplus.com.

City of Covington

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