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Ft. Wright Gives the OK to Smoothie King

Fort Wright city council approved a stage one development plan for Smoothie King, which hopes to open near Walmart, between Planet Fitness and Texas Roadhouse.

Planning & Development Services of Kenton County staff had recommended against the current plan, and the Kenton County Planning Commission agreed, sending an unfavorable recommendation back to city council.

Concerns were primarily over parking spaces. The plan only had eight designated parking spaces, but hoped to capitalize on the parking lots for other nearby businesses, which can be allowed under the highway commercial/community planned unit development zone. But, it was determined by planning staff and the planning commission that those parking lots were not close or accessible enough to meet the requirements.

In February, city council began to work with the developers of Smoothie King with the goal of making it work.

The developers agreed to limit indoor and outdoor seating to sixteen, and to redraw the plans to add more parking spaces, which is now at 17.

Council approved the plan, rejecting the planning commission's recommendation, noting that the economic benefits for the city outweigh the zoning concerns.

In other news from the council meeting, Police Chief Marc Schworer said that a police cruiser was totaled by one of the department's officers. The officer was not hurt, but the department will need a new vehicle. City Administrator Jill Bailey was looking into whether funds for a new vehicle could come from the current budget, or if it would have to be scheduled for the next fiscal year, which starts in July.

Ft. Wright Police Department also currently has one new officer enrolled at the state police academy, and there is another opening in the department. Chief Schworer plans to interview two officers soon, bringing the department back to thirteen officers.

Public Works director Jeff Bethell said his department went out recently to pick up garbage, and was able to gather fifty-six bags of garbage and eleven tires. The department was helped out by a litter abatement grant received by the city.

Bethell also announced that Nick Zumdick is retiring from the department after thirty years at the city. Mayor Dave Hatter said the city is currently restructuring the job description, but hopes to fill it soon.

Mayor Hatter also said that if anyone sees bad potholes, they should report them to the city, and if the roads belong to the city they can fix them quickly, whereas if they belong to the state, they can pass the complaint along.

New appointments to the Ramage Civil War Museum Board were made: Kathleen Romero, Jeannine Kreinbrink, Richard McCormick,and Linda Hornsby were appointed until to terms expiring on December 31, 2020, while Bernard O'Bryan, Rob Langendorfer, and John Johannaman were appointed to terms expiring on December 31, 2021.

Councilmember Margie Witt announced that April 6 will be Clean Up Day in Ft. Wright, and April 13 will be a shred day in the city. April 27 will be plant swap day.

Written by Patricia A. Scheyer, RCN contributor