Friday, November 12, 1999

Ky. officials urge quality growth

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        COVINGTON — Local and state officials emphasized to a gathering of Kentucky architects Thursday that growth and development in the area must not jeopardize quality of life.

        “Growth just for the sake of growth makes no sense,” Campbell County Judge-executive Steve Pendery said during a panel discussion at the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Kentucky conven tion on Thursday at the Clarion Hotel Riverview.

        “We must work to improve the quality of life as we encourage development,” Mr. Pendery said. “We need to speak about the amount of money generated from growth that goes to schools and for roads.”

        Mr. Pendery explained that Boone, Kenton and Campbell counties are forming a regional planning forum, expected to meet for the first time in January, to get citizen reaction to development.

        “This is a forum for ordinary citizens to tell us what they want to see,” he said. “It's the ordinary citizen who is most affected by growth and development. We must find out more about what they think, understand what they see as quality living.”

        The theme of this year's AIA Kentucky convention is “Livable Communities: Smart Growth Through Vision — 2000 and Beyond.” AIA members attended a series of education seminars and panel discussions dealing with various aspects of growth in Kentucky.

        Bellevue Mayor Tom Wiethorn displayed a series of slides depicting areas of his city where historic preservation and development have gone hand in hand.

        “We have proven that his toric preservation enhances property values while improving the quality of life in the community,” Mr. Wiethorn said. “We have developed guidelines to preserve and protect the character of an historic area.”

        Mr. Wiethorn also pointed to Bellevue's latest project — three restaurants and an office building in the initial stages of construction along the Ohio River and known as Port Bellevue — as an example of development blending with the surrounding community.

        “The architects worked with the city's guidelines in planning these buildings,” he said. “One of the restaurants is a Burger King, but it won't look like any other Burger King.”

        He said United Dairy Farmers will soon begin building a prototype convenience store and gas station on Fairfield Avenue, Bellevue's main street, that will blend with existing structures in the neighborhood.

        AIA members also heard from State Rep. Jim Wayne, D-Louisville, co-chairman of a Kentucky General Assembly task force on planning and zoning, who talked about how the state wants to map growth.

        He said unplanned growth leads to a number of problems, including pollution, higher tax es, school overcrowding and infrastructure weaknesses. Unplanned growth is primarily responsible for the loss of 5 percent of the state's family-owned farm land from 1992 to 1997, Mr. Wayne said.

        He said the state must have a specific set of tasks, including providing matching funds for developing new regional planning commissions, and support for existing city and county planning commissions.

        Sylvia Lovely, executive director of the Kentucky League of Cities, said the state must have an urban agenda, working toward a strategy of urban centers connected to rural areas.


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