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Ft. Wright Industrial Project Has Support of Council but Not Planning Commission

In a discussion Wednesday night, the Ft. Wright city council offered its support for a proposed zoning change to a piece of property on Howard Litzler Road that is slated for development.
 
On Thursday night, the Kenton County Planning Commission voted against the proposed change. Planning & Development Services staff had recommended against it, too.
 
The area is currently zoned as residential, but a development proposal requests that it be changed to industrial.
 
"Anytime we can get a development it is a win for the city," said Mayor Dave Hatter. "We are approximately 60 percent business and 40 percent residential, which generates a substantial amount of revenue for the city. That allows us to spend $500,000 to $750,000 on roads. Everyone knows I am not necessarily a fan, and we don't always  take (PDS) recommendations."
 
Council discussed the matter and all members agreed that there was no problem in going ahead with the project. Councilman Bernie Wessels stayed out of the discussion because his son, Kent Wessels, is the applicant seeking the zone change.
 
The property is owned by the Bonnie Ellison Trust and is located at 2809 Howard Litzler. 
 
According to the application submitted by Wessels and KWI Properties, the development plan includes demolition of the multi-family units on the 6.21-acre site, and construction of a 40,000 sq. ft. single-story office and warehouse building. There would be landscape buffering and a privacy fence, and 69 parking spaces.
 
PDS staff recommended against the plan, arguing that the proposed 15-foot buffering with landscaping was not sufficient to mitigate the potential for truck noise near the residential area. PDS also cited the lack of sidewalks in the plan along Howard Litzler and Madison Pike. PDS found that the proposal did not meet the minimum requirements of Ft. Wright's own zoning code, specifically the requirement of a 75-ft. planting strip when an industrial zone abuts a residential one. The buffer, by the city's zoning law, is to include rows of evergreen and broadleaf trees and a 36-ft. wide and 6-ft. tall earthen berm. The proposal, as submitted, does not include the berm.
 
There are residences nearby in both Ft. Wright and Covington.
 
PDS also cited the site's placement in a flood plain, and multiple areas in which insufficient information was provided.
 
Residents in the area spoke against the development plan at Thursday's Kenton County Planning Commission meeting. The River City News did not attend that meeting and will update this story with more information when it is available, including what the next steps may be. The information here comes from RCN's attendance of Wednesday's Ft. Wright city council meeting and a review of the PDS staff report of the proposed project.
 
Written by Patricia A. Scheyer and Michael Monks 
Image via PDS