Op-Ed: Villa Hills Development to Be Among Most Thoughtful, Innovative in NKY
As a life-long resident of Northern Kentucky with more than 40 years of experience in residential and commercial development, I want to set the record straight about the misinformation spread throughout Villa Hills during the rezoning process for our proposed development on property owned by the Benedictine Sisters of St. Walburg Monastery.
The Benedictine Sisters should be commended for engaging the community during this process. After deciding to sell their land, the Sisters worked closely with the City of Villa Hills and the Kenton County PDS to conduct an in-depth land-use study of their property, including the creation of a small-area study -- The Villa Hills Study -- that examined existing property conditions, marketplace trends, and future projections to provide guidance and direction for potential uses of this property.
During this two-year, public process, the study’s task force reviewed the site’s physical attributes, assessed input from two public forums, considered findings from an independent market analysis and traffic study, and obtained opinions from local and regional development experts. Very few property owners go through this kind of due diligence and public engagement to ensure that proposed land use fits the community’s vision.
After a competitive request-for-proposal process, Ashley Builders Group was chosen to create a development plan that adhered to guidelines of The Villa Hills Study. Out of this process, we created Sanctuary Village, which is commonly known as a Traditional Neighborhood Development (TND). Ashley partnered with a national planner that specializes in these innovative developments.
With an inviting town-center setting, Sanctuary Village is expected to appeal to multiple generations with varying incomes. It features ample green space; walking and running trails; an Ohio River overlook; a park with an inviting and relaxing environment; pedestrian-scale design elements great for biking, leisurely strolls, or walking your dog; neighborhood retail and office, such as a coffee shop, locally owned cafes, and executive suites. We designed these amenities not just for residents of Sanctuary Village, but also for the entire Villa Hills community.
Unfortunately, during the rezoning process, some people distributed misinformation about this project, which was not accurate. We feel obligated to correct for the record.
- TNDs are designed to reduce dependence on automobiles by creating a mixed housing stock, local-serving businesses, and a more pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly environment. We expect young professionals and empty nesters to live in the luxury apartments at Sanctuary Village. Studies show that these types of residents own fewer automobiles and make fewer trips compared to single-family homeowners.
- Based on traffic studies, Amsterdam Road averages 6,000 cars per day with a capacity for 25,000 cars. The addition of a new roundabout at Collins and Amsterdam will improve traffic flow and safety. Studies show that roundabouts lead to a 20-percent reduction in traffic delays and a 37-percent reduction in collisions.
- The residential density in this development is consistent with nearby neighborhoods. It has similar zoning density found in Carpenter’s Trace and Amsterdam Village.
- Sanctuary Village will improve property values and the community’s vitality. A study by Marquette University shows that residents consistently pay more to live in TNDs than other developments. That price premium is attributed to their quality-of-life features, such as walkable communities, ample green space, and proximity to local-serving businesses and other activities.
- A fiscal analysis conducted by the City of Villa Hills projects that it will receive between $650,000 to $725,000 in annual tax revenue from this development, which represents 20 percent of the city’s current budget. While some of these tax dollars will be used to provide services to new residents, the project will also provide much needed revenue for infrastructure improvements – both near the project and throughout the city.
This will be Ashley’s fourth development in Villa Hills. Part of Ashley’s success in Northern Kentucky over the past 30-plus years is a result of our love of this community, our dedication to excellence, and following through on our commitments. I am convinced that Sanctuary Village will not only improve the quality of life of all Villa Hills residents, but will be viewed as one of the most innovative and thoughtful development projects constructed in our region.
John Yeager is a Partner with Ashley Builders Group and a past president of the Home Builder Association of Northern Kentucky.