By Paul Whitty
Virtually since its adoption in 2006, the Louisville Metro Land Development Code (LDC) has been widely criticized primarily by the development community, including commercial developers, homebuilders, engineers, and land use attorneys. The promise of the Cornerstone 2020 Comprehensive Plan (upon which the LDC was derived) was to bring clarity and certainty to land use decision-making in Jefferson County. Many argue that the opposite has occurred. Mayor Greg Fischer has instituted a committee process to rectify the situation, which is approximately midway through its deliberations. A “Round One” set of text amendments addressed the “low hanging fruit” of typographical errors, duplications, clarifications, and improvements in cross-referencing. “Round Two” is well into its work of dealing with larger, more technical, policy-oriented changes.
Armed with a comprehensive knowledge of planning and a judicial temperament, planner Mike Hill chairs each subcommittee in making recommendations for amendments in nine areas:
- Permitted/Conditional Use Listings Review
- Form Districts
- Infill Development Standards
- Landscaping/Tree Canopy Requirements
- Development Review Process
- Fair & Affordable Housing
- Major/Minor Subdivisions
- Miscellaneous Research
These committees are populated with not only representatives of the development community, but also concerned citizens, neighborhood activists, as well as government and social agency personnel. Though many assume this process will result in fewer and more streamlined regulations and processes, there is certainly potential for more regulations and expanded process. The jury is still out.