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Proposed Walgreen's Scores Zoning Variances from City

A month after many of its plans were rejected by Covington's urban design review board, the proposed Walgreen's that would be constructed at Martin Luther King Boulevard & Madison Avenue where a nineteenth century property referred to commonly as the Bishop's mansion currently sits, won many approvals from the city's board of adjustments which deals with zoning issues. The development has been controversial in the preservatiom community because of the presence of the old home.

At the UDRB hearing in September, a representative of Anchor Properties would not comment on whether the project would seek the zoning variances from the board of adjustments but the team did show up for last week's meeting indicated that the project is moving forward. RCN has also learned that Anchor Properties, which is developing the Walgreen's on the site currently owned by the Diocese of Covington, will appeal those rejections by the urban design review board on November 27.

At last week's meeting, the BOA approved a conditional use request allowing the Walgreen's to sell wine, but not liquor. The board also allowed for the building to be just one story instead of the usual minimum of two for that zoning district. The Walgreen's had originally sought to have only one entrance on MLK Blvd to the north and none on Madison Avenue to the west or Wood Street to the east. Anchor is currently developing a new site plan that would add an entrance to the Madison side as well, a move that the board supported. 

The Walgreen's plans also won approval for the amount of parking allowed on the side of the property, a reduction to the maximum required length and projections of pilasters on the building's facade, a decrease in the minimum setback for ground mounted signs in the Commercial General zoning district from 5-feet from the right-of-way to zero from the right-of-way, a reduction in the minimum distance requirements for unsignalized access points, and the elimination of the required vine plantings on masonry walls required for trash storage area screening.

The developers had also sought a variance on the maximum height of ornamental metal fenses in the sight triangle but informed the board that the planned fence would be moved to a different area where the variance would not be required. Anchor Properties will update the site plan to reflect these changes.

The Walgreen's plans did not win everything it sought approval for last week. The developers had hoped to win approval for a larger area for its changeable copy sign, an increase of thirteen percent. The board voted unanimously in its disapproval and now Anchor Properties will need to re-submit an updated site plan showing conformance with the regulation or appeal the board's decision to Kenton County Circuit Court.

The next steps for the Walgreen's requires the applicants to submit their update site plans to the city's zoning administrator and once those new plans are reviewed and the items are properly addressed, the board of adjustments process will be finished.

PHOTO: Early rendering of the proposed Walgreen's/RCN file