The building at 1450 Dixie Highway in Park Hills may be one of the hottest listings in the region as yet another business owner approached city council about allowing his operation to locate there.
Joe Nienaber, a Kenton County Commissioner, is the owner of Granite World, which manufactures countertops and other in-home design components. He asked council on Monday to consider a text amendment to its zoning code that would allow "kitchen and bath" under "business retail" with the accessory use of outdoor display and light industrial at the property.
Granite World has two locations currently, one in Ft. Wright, where Nienaber was mayor before being elected to the Kenton County Fiscal Court in 2014, and one in Covington. Those locations would become one in Park Hills, he said.
"I have the property under contract, and we would like to sign the papers on April 1, but we have a little room," Nienaber said. "I would like to consolidate the business locations under one roof."
The location was presented last month as a potential spot for Steffen's Rental, whose Covington location has been shuttered since part of its wall collapsed on a group of students and chaperones visiting downtown, leaving one woman unable to walk. Park Hills City Council was not warm to the idea of Steffen's locating at the site because of its large equipment that it makes available to customers.
Councilman Jason Reser told Nienaber on Monday that the city wanted to be careful about what begins to re-populate this section of Dixie Highway, and that community input would be sought for long-term planning.
Nienaber said that he understood where the city was coming from and he answered all their questions. The building is already well insulated, Nienaber said, and it is definitely in his best interest to have the industrial part of the business, where his workers cut the granite, to be separate from the showroom part of the business. He said his showroom hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and that the industrial part goes from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., but work actually starts about 9 a.m. No work, except sales, is conducted on the weekends.
Nienaber told council that he has a new diamond cut saw, and a water system that cuts down on dust. He said he probably doesn't need all of the space the building has to offer, but he wants to grow his business. He presented illustrations that show the building as it is now, and the improvements he would make to the facade, as well as an aerial view of the property.
The outdoor storage would be for slabs of granite, and Nienaber said there would be scenic paths through the slabs, which blend with the natural setting.
After much discussion, council voted to have Mayor Matt Mattone work with Planning & Development Services to come up with a text amendment that would permit kitchen and bathroom sales, with an accessory use, which would be specific to this location, of having outdoor display and light manufacturing. Once the issue is at PDS, there will be a public hearing and a decision by the Kenton County Planning Commission, and then the issue comes back to the city for two readings, so there will be plenty of time for public input.
"My desire is that this deal should be good for the city, as well as good for me," said Nienaber.
Written by Patricia A. Scheyer, RCN contributor
Top photo: Joe Nienaber talks to Park Hills City Council (RCN)