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Notes from Covington City Hall

The following is a round-up of news items from Covington City Hall compiled by Michael Monks, editor & publisher of The River City News.

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Pricey Renovation of Historic Covington Property Approved by City

An historic pair of neglected homes will be given new life -- but with a hefty price tag, and that caused "indigestion" at this week's city commission meeting. Click Here

Controversial Hires, Fires Dominate Covington City Commission Meeting

Controversial hires, fires dominated last night's Covington City Commission meeting. Click Here

Improvements Planned for Latonia Streets, Caroline Underpass

Repairs are coming to Caroline, Latonia, and Southern Avenues. Details: Click Here

Covington Hopes for More Economic Development With New Program

More economic development in the city is predicted with the adoption of a new program. Details: Click Here

CITY REACHES AGREEMENT WITH DEVELOPERS OF POINTE BENTON

Since 2001, the City of Covington has been embroiled in litigation with Covington-based developers Hershner & Associates over the development known as Pointe Benton. The city commission on Tuesday night unanimously approved a settlement agreement that will end the twelve-year old legal battle. Issues in the lawsuit included completion of the development project, management of storm water on or adjacent to the development site, mortgage releases, and monetary issues related to storm water management systems. 

"The idea is that the agreement should effectuate the repair of the storm water system," said Assistant City Manager/City Solicitor Frank Warnock. The amout for that work is $200,000. "The city will undertake storm water remediation in the area and will accept Pointe Benton's street into its maintenance."

MORE CITY-OWNED BUILDINGS TO COME DOWN

As part of Covington's efforts to demolish more than fifty city-owned and privately-owned buildings that have fallen into irreparable disrepair, the city commission approved a contract with Rainbow Environmental Services worth $18,672 (payable from capital improvement funds). That firm will remove asbestos from buildings scheduled for demolition. Several properties have already been brought down and razing of the others will begin right away.

"We'll do two a day," said community services manager Mike Yeager. 

For the full list of properties set for demolition, click here.

PARKING TICKET HEARING BOARD TO REMAIN THE SAME, MOSTLY

There was an effort to reduce the size of the parking violation hearing board from three members to one, but behind-the-scenes negotiations maintained the membership at three. On Tuesday night, the Covington City Commission approved one change that will allow each of the three members to appoint a substitute member in the case of their absence. The three members of the review board are Police Chief Spike Jones, Assistant City Manager/City Solicitor Frank Warnock, and Community Services Manager Mike Yeager. The vote was made Tuesday because certain working changes are necessary to Chapter 75 of the Code of Ordinances to clarify that the city may delegate its towing authority, according to the city. The change passed unanimously, 5-0.

GALLERIES & STUDIOS GET APPROVAL IN NEW ZONING AREAS

The city commission unanimously approved a text amendment to the official zoning ordinance in the city defining artist/craftsman galleries and studios, allowing them as permitted uses (with certain restrictions) within urban residential, commercial neighborhood, commercial general, central business district, and commercial tourist zones. In its presentation to the commission, city staff stated that artist/craftsman galleries and studios are consistent with intensity and density of other land uses currently permitted within the affected zones. "Allowing these galleries and studios to be located in areas that currently allow for artist galleries and studios will increase the marketability of the city to attract new business and provide greater opportunities for revitalization and redevelopment," staff reported.

NEW LAUNDROMAT GETS GO-AHEAD FROM COMMISSION

The commission also unanimously granted permission for laundromats to be a permitted conditional use in the commercial general zoning district. The move will allow a new City Limits Laundry to open next to the Save-a-Lot on Madison Avenue. The River City News previously previewed the new laundromat: Laundromat Plans Spur Zoning Discussion in Covington

OTHER NOTES:

  • Emergency lights and equipment will be installed in new Covington Police vehicles. The city commission approved a contract with On-Duty Depot, Inc. worth $29,839.50 (payable from capital improvements fund) for the work. A less expensive bid came in from Camp Safety Equipment, Inc. ($26,591.79) but was pulled due to an error.
  • Covington-based Hub & Weber Architects will design a new events center/clubhouse for Devou Park. Seven bids were received and the city commission unanimously awarded the $153,150 contract to the Covington firm. The funds come from the Devou park Master Plan fund. For more information on the planned events center, click here and for more information on other planned improvements to Devou Park, click here.
  • The Housing Authority of Covington will have an amended amount of money to work with on its Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) projects. Costs have increased over the course of the projects, the city said, and HAC's portion of the city's federally funded program was increased from $1.75 million to $1,943,402.
  • Del Meadows was appointed to a three-year term on the Board of Assessment Appeals. Meadows has more than ten years of appraisal experience, is an FHA approved appraiser, and a resident of Covington.

COVINGTON STUDENTS, BUSINESS LEADER HONORED

Tuesday's meeting started with a congratulations for the latest winners of the Mayor's Challenge. Students at Holmes High School created a project called "Homes for Homeless". The students worked with Cincinnati-based homeless advocacy groups and the Covington Youth Commission to lead a food drive and also spent an overnight stay out in the elements to raise awareness for the plight of homeless people. 

Students from Prince of Peace were honored for their "Doggie Delights" program which worked with the veterans hospital in Fort Thomas and partnered with the Covington Police Department to make doggie treats for the K-9 units.

Second-graders at Glenn O. Swing Elementary created "Taking Care of the Earth One Aminal at a Time" which inspired the kids to write speeches about helping animals in need. The students worked with the Cincinnati Zoo, Duke Energy, the Mellow Mushroom, and Huntington Bank to raise funds for Conservation and Research of Endangered Wildlife (CREW).

Brent Cooper of Covington-based C-Forward was also recognized for receiving the 2013 Trailblazer Award from the Daniel Beard Council of the Boy Scouts of America.

Written by Michael Monks, editor & publisher of The River City News

Photo: Prince of Peace students at City Hall on Tuesday night are recognized by Pete Nerone/RCN

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