Direction 2030: Your Voice. Your Choice

Kenton County, Kentucky

An Award of Excellence went to Kenton County, Kentucky, in the Comprehensive Plan — Large Jurisdiction category for their Direction 2030: Your Voice. Your Choice.

The planning commission adopted the community's first comprehensive plan in 1972 and incorporated updates every five years thereafter per Kentucky law. The combined 26.2-pound, 12.5-inch-thick behemoth influenced decisions until the Great Recession established its 'New Normal.' Planners developed its replacement — Direction 2030: Your Voice. Your Choice. — through an aggressive three-year public engagement process. That process accomplished what many thought previously would be impossible: to build consensus among all 126 elected officials and 20 planning commission members. They grounded the plan in research provided by a national market analyst, most of it from sources bankers use for reviewing development-financing strategies. This established the plan as a unique resource for near-term development proposals and a baseline for state-mandated five-year updates. Stakeholders played a critical role in crafting a number of its innovative policies. Their opposition to broad recommendations prompted planners to divide the County into four subareas — urban, first‐ring suburb, suburban, and rural — to reflect the community's diversity. Policies are based now on the differing lifestyles found across these subareas. They advocated for an easy-to-use final product. Planners responded with an online comprehensive plan ( that documents the plan's creation, delivers guidance to anyone anywhere 24/7/365, and incorporates GIS technologies to invite users to interact with its contents.