Over Objection of Neighbors in Crestview Hills, Erlanger Adjusts Zoning for City Businesses

Several residents from Summit Drive in Crestview Hills attended the January meeting of Erlanger City Council, hoping that council would not approve two ordinances pertaining to zoning.  

The first ordinance is a text amendment which allows outdoor storage in an IP-3 zone, or Industrial Park-3 zone, and in the IP-4 zone and changes the buffer zone for businesses in those zones from 40 feet to 50 feet. The second ordinance changes the zone of an 13.84 acre tract of land from IP-1 to IP-4.  The land in question is currently occupied by the old Palm Beach building, Art's rental, and a printing company, as well as Kamps Pallets, which only occupies a part of their building, and the other businesses in that building are Corporate Storage, Rural Metro, and Stewart Ironworks.

"The biggest thing is the vehicular storage," said Eddie Kappes, who lives on Summit. "This is opening the door to a junkyard, and that would be an eyesore."

Terri Jameson gave council a few pictures of pods stacked to the height of a building, and other items stacked high outside, apparently in violation of the zone.

"The noise and lights from Airport Towing goes on all hours of the night," she said. "When we bought the property 28 years ago, the property value was higher. The problem will be magnified if you pass these ordinances. An 8-foot fence is not going to help this."

Crestview Hills Mayor Paul Meier came again this month to argue that the businesses aren't in compliance now, and that the IP-4 requires businesses to comply with the zoning codes. He explained that there has to be an 80-ft. wide landscaping, consisting of so many large trees, small trees and shrubs. He also pointed out that when outdoor storage is allowed, it does not specify how close to residential homes it can be, or how high. It was brought up that some of the businesses say they are a 9 to 5 business but there is nothing in the ordinance about changing hours in the future.

"You need to keep the current regulations in mind," Meier reminded council. "We would prefer not passing these ordinances."

Mark Stewart, Building and Zoning Administrator, said later that the city is already addressing the non-compliance issues and they will be resolved in the next few months. He also said the 80-ft. landscaping is necessary for new buildings in all IP zones if they don't put in a fence or a berm, in which case the 50-ft. buffer would apply to the business. He said that the problem with businesses changing their hours has to do with a noise ordinance, which is the same issue with Airport Towing, and Erlanger doesn't have a noise ordinance that pertains to this issue.

Matt Olliges, who owns the building where Kamp's pallets are located (and is a Bellevue city councilman), said that the property was a sizeable investment and he has always tried to be a good neighbor and will comply with the rules.

Joe Conley, from Kamps Pallets, said that they employ 20 people, and made $4.6 million last year, contributing to the tax base of the city, and asked council to support them.

Bruce Clemens, also from Kamps, told council they asked for the zone change, and asked council to help.

After listening to everyone, Linda Dietz, a resident of Erlanger, tried to offer a different solution, saying that putting the issue on hold and allowing the businesses to meet with the residents to try to work out a solution, similar to a few other situations in the past, seemed like a good temporary solution. However, Councilwoman Vicki Kyle said that she was going to vote for the ordinances because when she took office she promised to support Erlanger residents first, and to promote business in Erlanger.

No one tried to delay the ordinances and they were read, with nine of the ten council members present voting for it, and Councilman Gary Meyer voting against.

Other notes:

Councilwoman Patty Suedkamp presented City Council Attorney Frank Wichmann with an award pin for 50 years of service to the city, while his family proudly looked on. Wichmann came to the city in 1965 to preside over the police court and he became the city attorney in  1974. He is also the city attorney for Taylor Mill and Edgewood, from 1972 and 1977 respectively. He received his pin and a hug to a standing ovation.

"It is truly an honor to represent this city," Wichmann said after an emotional pause. "This is a great city and I have a great passion for it. Thank you."

Councilmen Kevin Burke and Bill Howard also received pins for 20 years of service to the city and so did Julie Harris, from the police department. Stephen Holstrom, also from the police department, received his five year pin.

In legislative business, council reappointed Mayor Tyson Hermes and Councilman Randy Blankenship to the Planning and Development Services board for the term of a year. They also reappointed Ruey Newsome to the Appeals Board for a three year term.

Story & photos by Patricia A. Scheyer, RCN contributor

Top photo: Crestview Hills Mayor Paul Meier speaks at Erlanger City Council this week

Greg Engelman, Chief Financial Officer for the city, introduced Shannon McCalley as the newest full time employee, and her title will be Assistant Financial Director.

Slideshow Images & Captions: 
Assistant Chief Doug Eagler presents Stephen Holstrom with his five year pin.