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Independence Debates House Design

Debate broke out Monday night in Independence over a proposed ordinance that could dictate how future home builders in the community could build their homes.

The ordinance, which is intended to “promote harmonious development and add to the visual and/or architectural character of the city,” has left Independence council members divided for months.

The ordinance primarily dictates that houses can’t be built adjacent to those across the street unless doors, shutters, or colors make it appear to be not adjacent and that at least 50 percent of the front of the house use “approved exterior coverings,” which include brick veneer, stone, stucco, and various types of wood.

Mayor Chris Reinersman said that this ordinance would raise the average cost of a home in Independence by $4,000 to $5,000.

Council member John Deaton, who has been outspoken in the past against the ordinance, said that he feels like this is an overstep of the government into people’s lives.

However, Independence resident Pam Burton, who lives in the Lakefield subdivision, said she would like to see an ordinance like this to help create a seamless design throughout the community, and to make sure that homes look nice.

“Even if they're starter home, wouldn’t you want them to be built well?,” Burton asked.

Brian Miller, the executive vice president of the Northern Kentucky Home Builders Association, urged the council to vote against the ordinance, citing concerns that it would drive builders away from the community, and end up costing the city revenue in taxes.

Council member Carol Franzen rebutted that she didn’t care about the temporary tax revenue of workers and developers in the community, but that she was looking out for citizens who were invested in the community and live there, and she believes that this will help them.

Jack Gatlin, the city attorney, presented several similar cases to the council where cities have passed similar laws, adding that there does not appear to be any legal problems with adopting the ordinance.

Reinersman concluded the hour-long debate by reminding the council that it was only the first reading of the ordinance, therefore there was no vote.

The ordinance will have a second reading at the June 5 meeting, where council will vote on it.

Other notes:

Reinersman declared June as Independence Hates Heroin Month. He briefly discussed the impact of heroin on the community, saying that the community had four overdoses this past weekend, one of which resulted in death. NKY Hates Heroin will be having their fourth annual run on June 17 to support fighting against the epidemic.

Written by Carrie Crotzer, RCN contributor
Image via City of Independence