What started as a simple peer-to-peer visit four years ago has become an ongoing collaboration between NKAPC planning staff and their counterparts with the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government. Lexington’s planners visited NKAPC most recently in early December.
“Several of their planners were looking at tracking some subdivision, zoning, and historic issues when they contacted us initially,” said Trisha Brush, GISP, NKAPC’s deputy director for GIS administration.
They wanted to see what NKAPC was doing and what they might be able to implement in Lexington. Since that time, the two agencies have kept in touch with each other, hoping to learn from the other’s experience and knowledge.
“We’ve moved on quite a bit in four years,” said Brush. “We now have WebFOCUS software which integrates all of our databases with common information, even GIS.”
Brush points out that WebFOCUS allows a person to map all building permits within a specific jurisdiction or by address range without the tedious process of re-entering data. It also facilitates pulling together details from different databases like property ownership and zoning enforcement.
“We can now pursue reports and queries that we haven’t been able to do before—all accessible without having to re-enter data,” she said. “WebFOCUS is really a big asset.”
Brush also touts the virtues of a second software package recently acquired by Area Planning, ArcServer. “ArcServer is brand new internally. It pulls all the disparate databases together so anyone, planners in particular, can have all the data they need at their fingertips.
“We now have a number of tools at our disposal that will help pull information together,” she said. When Lexington’s planners visited most recently, they discussed this new technology along with NKAPC’s subdivision plat-tracking system available on the agency’s intranet.
“We’re all trying to get the same thing done for our jurisdictions,” said Brush. “It’s great that two government agencies 90 miles apart can work together to save taxpayers’ time and money.”