Friday, May 18, 2001

Ky. plans anti-sprawl task force


State's growth above average

By Amanda York
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Kentucky is growing fast — maybe too fast.

        On Thursday, Gov. Paul Patton, in response to the astounding rate that Kentucky is developing land, announced plans to create a “Smart Growth Task Force.”

        Between 1982 and 1997, Kentucky's growth outpaced the national average by 27 percent, according to the Long Term Policy Research Center.

        That translates into 46 acres developed per day from 1982 to 1997, and gives the state the second-highest percentage change in developed acres per person in the nation.

KENTUCKY DEVELOPMENT
   Kentucky 1982-1997 Development Urbanization rate, in acres per day
   Bluegrass 46
   (includes N. Kentucky counties)
   Western Coalfields 10
   Pennyrile 22
   Eastern Coalfields 25
   Jackson Purchase 5
   Source: Long-term Policy Research Center
        “We clearly are utilizing land much faster than our population is growing,” Mr. Patton said. He cited USA Today's recently published Sprawl Index, which analyzed development patterns nationwide over the next decade as evidence that Kentucky cities were expanding too quickly.

        In that index, the Louisville metro area ranked ninth among cities of comparable size for worst sprawl; Lexington ranked 10th and Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky ranked 11th.

        The task force, which will be composed of 35 members from a broad range of interests and regions, will work to elevate growth as a public policy issue statewide, and will review Kentucky statutes, regulations and programs that relate to growth, Mr. Patton said.

        While Mr. Patton is advocating smart growth in Kentucky, he stressed he was not advocating no growth, saying that growth must happen for the commonwealth to be prosperous.

        Ohio and Indiana have no legislation that requires local governments to develop plans that outline urban development, James Duane, the executive director of Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments, said.

        Bill Miller, regional planning manager for OKI, said Ohio in particular has failed to address growth issues in the past. He criticized Ohio's zoning laws, saying the state has “been behind the Kentucky curve of addressing comprehensive planning.”

        “In Ohio, state law goes directly to zoning,” Mr. Miller said. “It doesn't even talk about planning. You really need to have a blueprint before you get to the specifics of zoning and subdivisions to fit into the big picture. Ohio law doesn't even look at the big picture.”

        On Monday, Hamilton County Commissioner Todd Portune and Boone County Commissioner Robert Hay presented a 20-page study on smart growth for the Cincinnati area.

       



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