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Kentucky Land Use Planning (1-KY-a)

Information current as of 2021
In most circumstances, Kentucky delegates land use planning to cities and counties. The developer should contact the appropriate local government to ensure that the proposed hydropower project is consistent with planning, zoning, and development regulations. KY. Rev. Stat. Ann. §100.113. However, public utilities that operate under the jurisdiction of the Kentucky Public Service Commission do not need approval from the planning commission before locating or relocating any service facilities. KY. Rev. Stat. Ann. §100.324(1).



Land Use Planning Process


1-KY-a.1 to 1-KY-a.3 – Is the Utility Under the Jurisdiction of the Public Service Commission?

The developer must follow the local zoning regulations if the facility does not operate under the jurisdiction of the PSC. KY. Rev. Stat. Ann. §100.324(2).

Public utilities that operate under the jurisdiction of the Kentucky Public Service Commission (PSC) do not need approval from the planning commission before locating or relocating any service facilities. KY. Rev. Stat. Ann. §100.324(1). A public utility is defined, in part, as any “person who owns, controls, operates, or manages a facility used or to be used for in the connection with the generation, production, transmission or distribution of electricity to or for the public, for compensation, for lights, heat, power or other uses…” KY. Rev. Stat. Ann. §278.010(3). For a full definition of a public utility see: KY. Rev. Stat. Ann. §278.010(3).

The developer should contact the PSC before beginning construction.

1-KY-a.4 to 1-KY-a.5 — Provide Notice to the Local Planning Commission

The PSC must give notice to the local planning commission of any hearing involving the location or relocation of facilities within that planning commission’s jurisdiction. KY. Rev. Stat. Ann. §100.324(1). The local planning commission may request additional information about the project from the developer. KY. Rev. Stat. Ann. §100.324(3).

1-KY-a.6 – Review Comprehensive Plan

If the facility does not operate under the jurisdiction of the PSC, the developer should review the comprehensive plan for the county or municipality. Kentucky requires that the planning commission of each county or municipality (a “planning unit”) adopt a comprehensive plan. Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 100.183 The plan must include:

  • Analysis of present and future population trends;
  • Present and future economic forecasts;
  • Research and analysis of the community needs for existing land and building use; transportation and community facilities; identification and mapping of agricultural lands of statewide importance; and analysis of community land use needs on those lands; and
  • Additional information which the Planning Commission believes will serve the purposes of the Comprehensive Plan.

Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. §100.187

1-KY-a.7 – Review County and Municipal Zoning Regulations

The developer should review the applicable municipal and county zoning ordinances. In Kentucky, cities and counties may create zoning maps, implement use restrictions, regulate the physical conditions of buildings, and impose density requirements, among other powers. Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 100.201(2).

A developer should review the applicable municipal and county zoning regulations to ensure the proposed project will comply with the zoning regulations.

1-KY-a.8 to 1-KY-a.9 – Does the Project Require a Variation to a Zoning Regulation?

If a proposed project does not comply with zoning regulations, a developer may submit a petition for a variation to the zoning ordinance to the applicable municipality or county board of adjustment. Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 100.243 The petition for variance to a zoning ordinance petition requirements and procedural process varies pending on the jurisdiction. However, the municipal or county zoning board or board of appeal may only grant a variation to a zoning ordinance when the variation will not “adversely affect the public health, safety or welfare, will not cause a hazard or a nuisance to the public, and will not allow an unreasonable circumvention of the requirements of the zoning regulations” Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 100.24. Additionally, the board must consider whether there are special circumstances which do not generally apply to land in the general vicinity, and whether the strict application of the provisions of the regulation would deprive the applicant of the reasonable use of his land Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 100.243.

1-KY-a.10 to 11-KY-a.12 – Does the Project Require a Proposal to Rezone?

If the project is located on land that is incompatible with the applicable zoning regulations and the developer is not able to obtain a variance, the developer should propose an amendment to the zoning map. The proposal for rezoning is referred to the planning commission prior to its adoption, and must follow the procedural requirements of Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 100.211, outlined below.

1-KY-a.13 to 1-KY-a.14 – Publish Notice of Public Hearing

The planning commission must hold at least one public hearing prior to making its recommendation on the adoption of the amendment, and provide notice of the hearing by posting the time, date and place of the hearing on a sign on the affected property and by service of first class mail with the time, date, and place of the hearing at least 14 days in advance of the hearing. Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 100.212.

1-KY-a.15 to 1-KY-a.16 – Does the Applicable County or Municipal Body Approve the Proposal?

In order to make a recommendation to approve the map amendment, The Planning Commission must make a finding that the proposed map amendment is in alignment with the existing comprehensive plan, or, in the alternative, that the existing map is incompatible and that the proposed amendment will bring the map into conformity with the plan. Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 100.213. Additionally, the Planning Commission may recommend the plan for approval where it makes a finding that the area has undergone major economic, social, or physical changes that were not anticipated by the comprehensive plan. Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 100.213.

The planning commission must make its recommendation within 60 days of receipt of the proposal, unless the developer waives the 60 day requirement, and transmit it to the relevant legislative body or fiscal court for final approval, which must occur within 120 days of the initial receipt of the proposal, unless the developer waives that time limit requirement. Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 100.211.

1-KY-a.17 – Appeal Decision (Optional)

A developer may appeal the denial of a zoning variance to the applicable board of adjustment. The appeal must be taken up within 30 days of the notification of the denial. The board of adjustment must hold a hearing on the appeal, and any interested party may appear and enter his appearance and be heard on the matter. Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 100.261.

A developer may appeal the denial of a map amendment to the circuit court of the county in which the planning commission or legislative body resides Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 100.347. Appeal must be taken within 30 days of the denial by the planning commission or legislative body.


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Contact Information








Edit Kentucky Public Service Commission
Executive Director (502) 564-3940 pscabbazabbainfo@kyabbazabbagov Visit Website


Edit Kentucky Public Service Commission
Division of General Administration 502-564-3940 Visit Website


Edit Kentucky Public Service Commission
Secretary of State for Local Zoning Visit Website