Fiscal Court Oct. 28

A screenshot from the Franklin County Fiscal Court's Oct. 28 meeting.

The Franklin County Fiscal Court voted unanimously to spend more than $100,000 on helping rewrite and potentially reform the area’s zoning code as part of the upcoming comprehensive plan update set to take place over the course of a 15-month period.

The total amount paid to McBride Dale Clarion from the county will total $239,250 for both the comprehensive plan and the zoning codes, up from $136,750 before the zoning code rewrite was added to the contract. The total amount for the contract is now $503,500, up $214,000 from the proposal when it did not include zoning.

Frankfort City Commission will be asked to pay the same $239,250 amount towards the contract with the Cincinnati-based planning firm, which was the only group to respond to a Request for Proposals (RFP) to write the area’s first major update to the comprehensive plan in several years.

Discussion of a zoning code rewrite was most recently driven by Magistrate J.W. Blackburn, who has advocated for form-based code.

A form-based code focuses more on shaping the built environment — building heights, street improvements, the distance between buildings and streets, overall density and more — as opposed to regulating specific land uses, as the current code does.

Blackburn said that he sees this rewrite as an opportunity to eliminate ineffective regulations, streamline the development process and allow for a greater level of sustainable development. 

“I think there's no time better to review and update the codes and revise the codes holistically in conjunction with the comprehensive plan,” Blackburn said. “I believe the comprehensive plan and this update are to guide one another, and I think it allows more public input for both things at the same time.

“I think this is a huge deal, and I think we need to look at it all very closely.”

Magistrate Lambert Moore asked if the rewrite would cause the area to change its zoning to form-based codes, because he is not in support of such codes “at all.”

Franklin County Planning & Zoning Director Robert Hewitt responded that the issue will be determined as part of the months-long process, which will include ample public input, professional recommendations and ultimately a vote of the fiscal court.

Moore and the rest of the court ended up voting for the measure.

A steering committee for the comprehensive plan update will include Blackburn, Frankfort Mayor Layne Wilkerson and multiple members of the Frankfort-Franklin County Planning Commission.

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