Tuesday, January 15, 2002

Gallatin Co. installs first zoning laws

Speedway was catalyst of spiraling development

By Stephenie Steitzer
Enquirer contributor

        WARSAW — Unincorporated Gallatin County residents no longer have to worry about hotels or factories popping up in their back yards.

        Gallatin Fiscal Court adopted its first zoning rules last week to gain some control over development in the state's third-fastest-growing county.

        Under the new rules, ar eas have been designated around Gallatin County — southwest of Boone County and across the Ohio River from Indiana — for heavy industry, light industry, highway/business and residential/agricultural.

        Best known as home of the $154 million Kentucky Speedway, the county is bracing for large-scale commercial and residential developments, including four

        hotels near Interstate 71.

        The county adopted a comprehensive plan several months ago to map out its vision for growth and development. The purpose of the zoning rules is to implement the plan, which Judge-executive George Zubaty said took two years to develop.

        “We're not out to rule everybody's lives and such,” he said. “This is an opportunity and a way of having an orderly growth.”

        According to Kentucky State Data Center projections, developing a plan for growth now probably is in the county's best interest.

        The 2020 estimate has Gallatin County's population at 11,321 — a significant jump from the current 7,000.

        While most of the county will remain residential/agricultural, portions near Warsaw, Glencoe and Sparta will allow commercial and industrial development.

        The three cities are not included in the plan or the zoning rules. Mr. Zubaty said Warsaw has its own rules, Glencoe is creating a comprehensive plan and Sparta does not have a plan or zoning.

        Marshall Slagle, assistant director of the Northern Kentucky Planning Commission and member of the governor's Smart Growth Task Force, said almost 30 counties still have no form of zoning.

        While Kenton, Boone and Campbell counties all have some form of zoning, surrounding Northern Kentucky counties Bracken and Pendleton are getting it set up. Mr. Slagle said Owen County does not have rules and is not working on any.

        Mr. Slagle said he tried to help Gallatin develop a plan several years ago, but the county was not interested.

        While he said the rules are overdue, they will still benefit the county as it deals with development.

        “They are starting to face a number of growth issues spilling over from Boone County,” he said. “I think it's going to bring back more stability where people are going to invest more in the county.”


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