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Park Hills Gets Update on Housing Development, Discusses Franchise Fee

The City of Park Hills received an update this week on the Park Pointe project, which will result in more than 80 new single-family homes on the hilltop that was previously home to one of Gateway Community & Technical College's campuses.

The land is mostly in Covington, but some of it is in Park Hills.

Developer Paul Zeltwanger, of Joshua One, said that his team is currently working on its stage two development plan, since the stage one portion received approval.

He noted that the City of Covington opposed an entrance to the project from Dixie Highway, and since the City of Park Hills is opposed to reopening Old State Road, that the only entrance to Park Pointe will be from Patton Drive.

Questions about Old State Road remain, however.

Park Hills resident Tim Kruze said that while the road is closed, he regularly sees trucks accessing it. City Councilman Greg Claypole said that he has also seen trucks using it, and that if the road was closed, it should be blocked off entirely.

But Paul Michels & Sons Construction is using a parking lot accessed through Old State Road as a staging area - so the city will place barriers to prevent trucks from using the road beyond that parking lot.

Public Works Director Dan VonHandorf said that it will take cooperation from the city and construction workers on that effort, otherwise, the situation could could get worse before it gets better.

City discusses possible franchise fee

 

As local cities explore the best ways to tackle increased pension costs, several are turning to new fees, including the franchise fee that can be assessed to energy bills. Claypole brought up the topic at this week's council meeting, and it was noted that Park Hills has, in the past, considered the franchise fee as an alternative to the fees for car stickers.

Mayor Matt Mattone noted that franchise fees are more equitable for taxpayers, since they would be paid by more citizens, unlike property taxes which are only paid by property owners.

One concern was raised, though, that some renters have their energy charges included in their leases and do not have separate Duke Energy accounts.

Councilwoman Pam Spoor said that she opposed the franchise fee because she has a problem taxing people on a basic service.  She said she would rather see a flat fee attached to every homeowner's tax bill that would include a fee for two cars. She explained that if people didn't have two cars they could contest the bill. Claypole agreed.

Mattone said that council would be discussing the issue again in the coming year.

City finalizes contract with Ft. Wright Fire Dept.

Mayor Mattone as authorized by city council to sign a revised contract with the City of Ft. Wright for advanced life support and basic life support (ambulance) services.

The previous contract expired June 30, and Park Hills had sought bids for service since the city was caught off guard by Ft. Wright's increased price. The $21,000 increase had not been budgeted for in Park Hills.

After evaluating its options, Park Hills opted to go with Ft. Wright again. In the future, Ft. Wright will need to alert Park Hills by May 1 if the price for the ambulance service is expected to increase by more than 5 percent.

Garden Tour celebrated

Karen Oberjohn gave a report on the success of the Garden Tour put on by the Park Hills Civic Association. She thanked everyone who helped make it happen, and related how the feedback was overwhelmingly positive. Since the businesses and community pitched in so much to support the event, 100 percent of the proceeds from the ticket sales were able to go back to the civic association.

Oberjohn also officially put in a request to hold the event again next year, on June 22 and 23, the fourth weekend in June. Council agreed to the request. Oberjohn also asked if the city could take a look at putting more electrical outlets around Trolley Park because event organizers had to turn away a food specialist because there were not enough outlets.

VonHandorf later told council he would rather see the city use generators rather than putting in more electrical outlets because the cost of the electrical extensions would be prohibitive.

Note:

Since the regular meeting place at Notre Dame is not available in two weeks when the caucus meeting is scheduled, it was decided to hold the caucus meeting at the firehouse again.

Written by Patricia A. Scheyer, RCN contributor