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Taylor Mill Board Rejects Proposed Auto Business

Davon Auto Sales, Service and Collision Repair was shot down Thursday in Taylor Mill.

The auto body company with shops in Covington and Bromley became interested in obtaining the buildings and land near Lakeside Drive and Pride Parkway that currently belongs to Klenco Construction. Davon Auto Owner David Von Bokern, expressed that interest to Taylor Mill City Commission and asked the city to permit a zone change from residential to neighborhood commercial.

That application was reviewed by the Kenton County Planning Commission, which recommend against the zone change, a notion that Taylor Mill city leaders agreed with in also expressing discomfort over the plans.

On Thursday, Von Bokern went before the Taylor Mill Board of Adjustments for a public hearing concerning a new application to change the nonconforming use zoned for the property from construction to auto-body work and car sales. The board voted against the approval of that application 3-2.

A nonconforming use designation compared to that of neighborhood commercial is thought to be less valuable in terms of a resale of the property in the future. Nonetheless, Von Bokern moved forward with obtaining the property and had vivid concepts of how the place would look and operate under his ownership. He and Jeff Flaherty of Cardinal Engineering were willing to include conditions to the application of limiting cars for sale in the parking lot to 15 and to providing screening of sight lines to nearby houses.

Planning & Development Services (PDS) Planning Manager Andy Videkovich was at the meeting on Thursday night and had reviewed the application with his staff. He gave the application a favorable recommendation with conditions such as normal business hours and other considerations.

Residents spoke about aesthetic worries of the fenced-in portion of the property that would temporarily harbor wrecked cars, a potential increase of automobiles on the street for motorists needing regular services like oil changes and tire assistance, and negatively affected property values of nearby homes.

Von Bokern attempted to quell those concerned by reassuring them his intentions of improving the aesthetics with landscaping, ensuring all badly damaged cars remain behind the fence and out of sight, and his disinterest in appearing like a gimmicky car lot.

“The car sales is more a supplemental part of my business. It's not balloons outside and a lot full of cars and that's not our main focus,” Von Bokern said. “We fix salvaged cars, we do a little bit of body work and a lot of mechanical work. That's the main focus of my business.”

In the end, though, it was not enough to convince the three of the five members of the Board of Adjustments.

“When this all started, I was under the impression that this was going to be a body shop that sells a few cars. I think things have changed and snowballed over that with the effect that now 50 percent of the business is auto repair, 25 percent is auto body and the other 25 percent is sales of the car. Getting into oil changes, tires, I just don't know if that is a good fit,” said board member Richard Meyer who was one of three to vote against the approval of the application.  

Written by Bryan Burke, associate editor

Top photo: Davon Auto location in downtown Covington (RCN file)

Bottom photo: Rendering of proposed Taylor Mill location

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