Cornerstone 2020: The Comprehensive Plan


Cornerstone 2020 represents the vision of Louisville and Jefferson County, brought into focus by hundreds of citizens whose labor over seven years (from 1993-2000) produced a plan for a more livable, attractive, mobile, efficient and environmentally sensitive community.

Although we expect to grow by some 60,000 inhabitants during the next twenty years, our changing demographics and our healthy economy indicate that transformations will occur during the next two decades which numbers alone will not reflect. Cornerstone 2020 is primarily about how to plan for these transformations with the goal of enhancing the quality of life in our community.


In our vision of 2020, Louisville and Jefferson County is a community widely recognized for its high quality of life, sense of tradition and competitive spirit. Our children have inherited a livable, vibrant and economically diverse community. We have clearly recognized that the quality of life depends upon continued success in the economic marketplace and an ongoing commitment to the conservation of environmental resources which define our heritage and enhance the livability of our community.

Community residents share a sense of place and take great pride in their established and emerging neighborhoods which are culturally and economically diverse. Residents are proud of their differences in heritage and culture. Economic and educational opportunities are available to all residents, in every neighborhood. Every neighborhood is a safe place to live.

The community enjoys a rich fabric of urban and suburban areas, interwoven with environmental resources, accessible parks, open space and the Ohio River Corridor, all representing a heritage of natural beauty. A multi-modal transportation system serves and ties together the entire community. Unified government services enhance the ability of the community to speak with a single voice in matters related to the investment of human, environmental and capital resources.

The Cornerstone 2020 Vision for Louisville and Jefferson County is nothing less than the best of the past merged with the best of the future, creating a community where all residents can grow and prosper.

Adopted Cornerstone 2020 Comprehesive Plan

The Core Graphics are a series of maps contained within Cornerstone 2020 that help interpret the goals, objectives, guidelines and policies of the plan.  The following are the graphics: 

Core Graphics  are available for viewing at Planning and Design Services, 444 S. 5th Street, Suite 300, Louisville, Kentucky, 40202, or on the Core Graphics web page.

Cornerstone 2020 Land Development Code

Cornerstone 2020 Plan Elements and Core Graphic:

The Planning Commission adopted the Plan Elements and the Core Graphics on June 15th, 2000. The document has been adopted by all thirteen legislative bodies with zoning powers in Jefferson County. The adoption of the Plan Elements was the second phase of the Cornerstone 2020 comprehensive plan creation.

Cornerstone 2020 Goals & Objectives

Pursuant to the February 19th 1998 adoption of the Goals and Objectives by the Louisville and Jefferson County Planning Commission, the document was adopted by all thirteen legislative bodies with zoning powers in Jefferson County. The adoption of these Goals and Objectives was the first phase of the Cornerstone 2020 comprehensive plan creation.

How the Cornerstone 2020 Plan was Developed

Initial work for the Cornerstone 2020 plan began in July 1993 when 150 people from across Jefferson County came together to develop a vision of what our community should look like.

They spent time together thinking, talking, listening, learning and debating. Their vision for the future is the basis of the Cornerstone 2020 Plan.

To develop a plan that is both broad enough and flexible enough to guide our development for the next 25 years, citizens, business and government leaders, resource people and staff were organized into several key committees:

The Policy Committee

Guided the overall process which has resulted in the written plan and a guide for its implementation.

The Livability Committee

Studies issues such as parks, open space, natural resources, sewer and water service, and other environmental issues.

The Mobility Committee

Worked on transportation for people and goods, including strategies to create more connections between places where people live, work, shop and enjoy leisure time, as well as to provide for non-automotive travel.

The Marketplace Committee

Focused on our economic growth, including how to expand and enhance our position in the regional marketplace.

The Community Form Committee

Developed a new approach to making land use decisions that defines 11 distinct "form districts" such as Traditional Neighborhoods, Downtown Villages and Suburban Workplaces.

Rules for development in these districts will preserve the character of existing neighborhoods and also promote harmonious growth, safety and knowledge abut what type of development can occur next door.

How the Plan was Adopted

The Board of Aldermen of the City of Louisville, Jefferson County Fiscal Court and the councils of the cities of the third and fourth class in Jefferson County voted on the plan. The Louisville and Jefferson County Planning Commission has reviewed and adopted it. Amendments will be considered by the Planning Commission on an ongoing basis. By law, a major review of the entire plan is required every five years.

What will the Cornerstone 2020 Plan Do?

The Cornerstone 2020 Plan will guide the use of land and protection of our natural resources. It will encourage economic growth while enhancing the unique character of our neighborhoods.

It will create greater certainty for residents and investors while promoting flexibility that will allow builders and developers to create better designed communities.

The plan will also:

Preserve and promote stable, safe, attractive urban and suburban neighborhoods where residents share both a sense of pride and a sense of community.

Safeguard and promote choices residents expect: choices for living, shopping and transportation.

Coordinate economic development, transportation and affordable housing strategies so that we can more easily link places where people work and live.

Promote economic development programs that foster growth and wise investment in our roads, sewers, power and other infrastructure needs.

Protect our parks and unique natural resources such as the Ohio River, Jefferson Memorial Forest, Floyds Fork and Beargrass Creek stream corridors.

Promote and strengthen downtown Louisville.

Developing Communities with Cornerstone 2020

New Development Under Jefferson County's OLD Comprehensive Plan:

Heavy dependence on automobile and little pedestrian or transit use

Neighborhoods that lack any compatible shops and services

Commercial development that is out of scale with neighborhoods

Little public open space

Disconnected streets resulting in traffic congestion on main roads

How New Development in Jefferson County Will Change Using Cornerstone 2020 Guidelines:

More compact development that is integrated with public open spaces

Shops, services and libraries - that are compatible with neighborhood scale and character

Connected streets that reduce congestion and encourage pedestrian and transit use

Special District Areas

Have distinctive natural, cultural, architectural, historic or visual resources. Development will be permitted within these districts based upon each area's infrastructure capacity and resource base.

Form Districts

The Cornerstone 2020 Comprehensive Plan includes a new approach to making land use decisions which will strengthen our current system of zoning for individual land uses.

The new approach defines 11 form districts. Rules for development in each district will ensure that current neighborhood character and patterns of development are reinforced.

Traditional Neighborhood

A residential area with compact development that supports shops and allows open space or greenways. Can include older urban neighborhoods as well as new neighborhoods.


A type of neighborhood with open space or farmland at the edge. A village center has shops, services and civic space.

Town Center

A community-serving center with retail, office, governmental, cultural and residential uses.

Traditional Marketplace Corridor

Neighborhood-serving shops and services along major roadway. Reinforces bicycling, transit and pedestrian use.

A compact residential area integrated with public spaces such as parks, playgrounds or schools, and shops located at certain intersections.

Traditional Workplace

Older industrial and employment centers.

Regional Marketplace Center

A region-serving, mixed-use activity center characterized by shopping, offices and hotels.

Suburban Workplace

Large scale industrial and employment centers buffered from surrounding uses.

Suburban Marketplace Corridor
Community-serving shops and services along a major roadway. Rules will encourage pedestrian, bicycling and transit use through creative design.


The heart of the city and the economic cultural center of the region.


Master planned areas with a mix of office or educational uses, support services and a common square or plaza.