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Possible Design for Proposed Taylor Mill UDF Presented

Efforts to bring a United Dairy Farmers location to Taylor Mill continued Wednesday night as the development team presented preliminary designs for the first time.

The plans call for a new UDF at the corner of Taylor Mill Road and Honey Road.

"This site is positioned well to serve this growing community because of its location, access, and visibility," said Tim Kling, director of real estate at UDF.

Plans for the UDF led to a lengthy city commission meeting in January where owners of the property upon which the new store would be constructed believed that zoning changes were sought to prevent its development.

There was consideration given to barring new gas stations from being developed in an area that is undergoing a huge re-imagination in the form of The Districts of Taylor Mill. The city commission opted not to adopt that clause following three hours of public discussion.

Phil and Laurie Peace purchased more than seven acres of land in the area in 2006 with hopes that someday their dream home would be built there. Those plans changed and now the land may be home to a UDF and a second development, Phil Peace said at Wednesday night's Taylor Mill City Commission meeting. No further details were given on what the second development could be.

City leaders said in January that they had yet to see a design plan for the project. That changed Wednesday.

The entire project would encompass a little more than two acres and 82,000 square feet. The store itself would be five-thousand square feet and would feature seven fueling stations with fourteen dispensers under a canopy. UDF architect John Johnston said he would recommend pursuing what the company calls its "residential-style" store instead of a more commercial one. Similar stores can be found on Turkeyfoot Road and in Alexandria and Independence.

"Residential-style would be most appealing for this location," Johnston told the city commission. "We recently completed on in Ohio and were given an award for architectural excellence which we're very proud of."

The UDF signage would be placed right at the intersection in front of a rain garden.

"It's refreshing to have something to look at. We haven't had that privilege in the past," Mayor Dan Bell said.

Johnston said that the design for the proposed UDF would be consistent all around its building which would be wrapped with all the same details from front to back. "It's a continuous presentation and we think that would be important here because of the residential apartments that are here close to the site," Johnston said.

"It's been enjoyable to work on the site. I think we fit well on the site and I think we would be a good participant in the community and a valued place for the Taylor MIll community to come and get provided services," he said.

"It's a really nice looking building," City Commissioner Dan Murray said. "I've been to a lot of your places and never saw one that wasn't well taken care of, I'll give you that."

City Commissioner Ed Kuehne said he met with the Peaces recently and expressed his intentions. "I look forward to a lot of things going on in the city and I think UDF would be a good neighbor for us," Kuehne said. "There are a lot of things that need to be taken care of." He listed watershed actions, zoning, and green space requirements. 

"It may be a week, it may be a year, it may be two years to get everthing done but we've all expressed our intentions. Let's go forward," Kuehne said.

Mayor Bell shared that sentiment. "I see a lot of text amendments that need to be done here," he said, referencing various potential zoning issues.
 
"We know it's going to take some work. We want to be here and we're willing to be here," Johnston said.
 
"If we're looking at working with you, there has to be some give and take," Bell said.
 
City Administrator Jill Bailey said that the plan is not compliant with any of the design guidelines. "It's the opportunity to start some dialogue," she said, though.
 
"This is what we feel is the direction we have to go but we're willing to work with you in respect to that," Johnston said.
 
Any effort to change the zoning could affect the rest of the immediate area since a text amendment can't be changed for just one lot, Mayor Bell said. He said the city already decided not to bar new gas pumps and is considering the withdrawal of its plans to require new buildings to be two-stories in height (a topic that was supposed to be discussed Wednesday but was removed from the agenda because City Attorney Frank Wichmann was absent to injuries suffered in a recent fall).
 
Bell also said the City is looking to implement a text amendment in regards to the number of parking spaces needed at new developments.
 
"We're trying to build something pretty special here and we feel like we need to protect as much as possible so your cooperation and your negotiations and your willingness to have discussions about these things will be valuable," Bell said.
 
"We feel like we building something special," Johnston said.
 
Bell noted that with UDF's possible arrival in Taylor Mill, the city would be home to four iconic Cincinnati brands. The Districts, when the first phase is completed, will house a Skyline Chili, a LaRosa's pizza parlor, and a Graeter's ice cream store.
 
The developers will still need to submit a formal design plan for consideration so that any issues can be addressed before moving forward.
 
One issue that could delay the project more than others is that some edges of the property are on the public right of way and the Peaces have been in talks with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet about how to address that (Taylor Mill Road and Pride Parkway are state roads). Phil Peace said that he was told it could be a two-year process but that the City could work with the state to shorten that time. The right of way property would have to be released to the City and then the developers could work on acquisition from there.
 
Written by Michael Monks, editor & publisher of The River City News
 
Photo: Preliminary design released Wednesday for proposed UDF in Taylor Mill/RCN