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Florence to Adjust Zoning for Apartment, Restaurant Projects on U.S. 42

Florence City Council heard the first reading of an ordinance that would allow for the construction of an apartment development and a restaurant to move forward.

The apartments will be aimed at older residents on a fixed income and will be located along U.S. 42 between Gunpowder Road and Bill Wentz Drive. The project - brought to the city by Episcopal Retirement Services Affordable Living, LLC - required a change from commercial to urban residential zoning for the 0.518-acre site.

The second part of the ordinance would allow for the development of an outdoor seating area for a restaurant along U.S. 42 on the south side of Bill Wentz Drive. The applicant for that project is Covington Shopping Center, LLC, which owns a site in Covington that has a Save-a-Lot grocery store and a Papa John's, and other retail outlets on the 1600 block of Madison Avenue.

With the zone change, a nearby intersection is expected to be improved by a new alignment for roads to allow for better entering and exiting of the housing development.

Council also approved an ordinance prohibiting people from approaching cars stopped at intersections within the city, and setting penalties for violations. The city made a change to its ordinance to better comply with a recent decision from the Kentucky Supreme Court on a case out of Lexington.

State Sentator John Schickel (R-Union) offered an update on the 2017 General Assembly session. He cited the new right-to-work law, a 28-week abortion ban, and charter schools as positive highlights.

Schickel also talked about new legislation that limits the number of days that pain pills can be prescribed (now, three), and that brought tougher penalties for heroin trafficking.

When asked if there will be a special session this year, Schickel said that Governor Matt Bevin had said in no uncertain terms that they would have a special session to discuss taxes and pension. 

Before the meeting, there was a municipal aid road fund meeting. The city will receive $735,000 and plans to spend the money on several streets, including Center Park, Center Street, Curtis Avenue, Foster Avenue, High Ridge, Preakness, Spicewood, and Safeway. All projects can start after July 1. 

Written by Patricia A. Scheyer, RCN contributor

Photo: Sen. John Schickel talks to Florence city council (RCN)