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"Flag Lots" Anger Some Ft. Mitchell Residents

Some residents in Ft. Mitchell are protesting the placement of an access road to two flag lots.

The issue was raised by residents of Reqaurdt Lane at Monday night's Ft. Mitchell City Council meeting. The flag lots are located between Requardt and Orphanage Road. Jeff Wilmink, whose wife's family owns three apartment buildings on Orphanage Road, and Don Stegman, from Cardinal Engineering, came to the meeting to try and answer questions about the two flag lots - named for the shape of the land, with a long, slender driveway that leads to a wider portion of a parcel - in the rear of the apartment buildings and behind the houses on Requardt.

"I want to say that everything these two men are doing is within their rights," said Mayor Jude Hehman as a preface to the question and answer session.

Jeff Wilmink said that the concrete work and the replanting of trees would start Wednesday, and he didn't know when the actual building's construction would start. He also said that he and his wife were trying to liquidate some family assets, and that is why he was trying to maximize the property by putting flag lots there. He realized he was not a developer, so he hired Stegman to make sure everything was done according to the book.

"I do appreciate the phone call," said Greg Pohlgeers, a resident on Requardt, to the two men, "but it was a reactive call, and I would have rather have had a proactive call. And I think that having bulldozers early on Easter Sunday, that's not being a good neighbor."

Patty Kaiser, who lives on Virginia, said she bought her property because it was nice, with over 80 trees. She said she considers her trees not to be scrub trees, which is what Wilmink said was on the property that was cleared. She asked how the driveway was going to go across the creek, but was told it would instead go up the hill. She stated that she was flabbergasted when she heard what was going on, and couldn't believe that no one knew.

Georgio Giglio, whose parents' property is adjacent to where the access road will start, said his driveway is not that wide.

"I take exception to  the fact that we were informed," he stated. "No one told us. It was a total surprise. This will hurt the value of my parents' property. I feel like it was done undercover. It was not a neighborly thing to do. We are opposed to it."

Wilmink said that they tried to contact the Giglio family multiple times but no one was home. Georgio said he picks up his parents' mail and said they received no mail from them.

Jim and Betty Osterman have lived on Requardt for 37 and a half years, and they heard the bulldozers start on Easter Sunday at 8 a.m.

"We had to listen to them making a huge racket for three straight weekends," Jim said. He argued that if people were parked in the fire lane and there was an emergency call, the fire trucks would not be able to come down Requardt, so he was concerned about response time.

Wilmink allowed that it was his fault that the company he picked to clear the land chose to work on weekends. He said he received three bids for the project of clearing the property and chose the lowest one, but did not check to see that they would only be working on weekends. He said the company he hired to do the concrete work would only be working on weekdays, because he did not want to repeat the mistake of not checking. He also acknowledged that the company did not bother to get the $100 permit that was needed for the job.

Ben Dressman, who lives on Requardt, stood up to question why they didn't make the access road off of Orphanage, and was told that there wasn't enough space between the apartment buildings to make an access road, and they would have had to buy some property next door to the apartments in order to have enough space to make an access road.

"So, we are to be inconvenienced instead?," Dressman asked. He pointed out that three new families have recently moved in on his street, and two of them have small children, so increased traffic would be a safety issue for the children on the street.

Mayor Hehman wrapped the session up.

"These men didn't have to come up here," he said. "There is nothing we can do to stop it. I know that doesn't make it easier. (Wilmink) needs to learn to be a better neighbor."

Councilman Dennis Zahler echoed the sentiment.

"When Mercedes came in, they went to every homeowner to answer questions and make sure they knew what was going on," he said. "If you had done that you wouldn't have to do this."

A couple of residents asked if they would ever put more houses in the back, and Stegman said subdivision rules state that only two houses can be put in that place. However, there is more land owned by other people back there and Mayor Hehman said that the city changed its policy on flag lots about ten years ago and a homeowner can put houses on their property although not through the same driveway.

"The way our flag lot ordinance is written, yes," he said as answer to the question.

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Other notes:

In other business, council passed a resolution making their park a smoke-free area and also listened to the first reading of an ordinance changing the due date for liquor licenses. City Clerk Linda Bartels explained that this would make it a little easier for businesses, since the license for the state is usually due in November, so  the city would make their licenses due at the same time as the state.

City Administrator Sharmili Reddy read a list of projects that needed a prioritization in order to try and fit them into the budget for next year. While they couldn't do all of the projects, Reddy said she wanted to get the input of council to be able to know what they thought was most important. The projects are:

  • Buttermilk/Orphanage realignment design, a $300,000 project which will receive $250,000 from the state so the city will have to come up with $50,000;
  • Soccer field and track proposal at General Ormsby Park, a project that will cost $3.5 to $4 million and the design will cost $50,000 to $70,000;
  • Ft Mitchell city center streetscape design; phase one would include improvements along the southern edge of the city center area and cost is estimated at $40,000 to $50,000;
  • Dusing lot planning, design costs estimated at $15,000 to $20,000;
  • sidewalks on Orphanage road, construction costs estimated at $150,000--a project that was preliminarily looked at and the engineering done, but a project that might be put on hold until the realignment project is considered;
  • Gateway project, a landscaped median with irrigation system to cost $50,000;
  • decorative stop signs, similar to Lakeside Park at a cost of $40,000;
  • Brice avenue, a beautification project costing $25,000;
  • Improving walkability on Beechwood Road, design costing $10,000;

Other expenses include new radios at a cost of $200,000 which will have to be included in essential projects, and body worn and cruiser cameras at a cost of $100,000. Reddy said that the city would be striving for grants for the projects.

Council went for the first three projects although they also liked the Beechwood road walkability. Reddy said she appreciated the input.

Mayor Hehman said that the design of the clock outside the city building had included some benches, but they were going to simplify the design due to two drainage issues that have occurred at the city building after the big storm last Tuesday.

Another citizen, Julie Reis, came to ask about the pizzeria that will go in on the Korzenborn property. Mayor Hehman said that it was confirmed that the Korzenborn's have leased the property to the pizzeria. Reis asked about hours and parking, since she did not want noise and lights into the night when she had to get up for work. Hehman said he thought the hours were reasonable, and wouldn't be that late.

Dr. Mike Stacey from Beechwood came to say he was behind the effort to put a track into the park since Beechwood is more landlocked.

Reddy announced that the process to pick a new police chief is proceeding and the city received 34 applications which were narrowed to 8, but policy dictates that no one is notified until the process is complete.  She also explained that several businesses have asked for and received automatic signs for addresses because they are so much easier to manage.  Another issue is the names that have been decided on to put on the wall of honor, a monument that gives credit to individual persons who have given countless hours to the city. Three names were decided on, James Wilshire, Todd Kleier, and Rick Gohs . The three names will be dedicated on Monday, May 30 in a short ceremony beginning at 11:30 a.m.

Finally, Senator Chris McDaniel came to tell the council about the laws that were passed and some that were vetoed as well as some that didn't make it to the floor.

Written by Patricia A. Scheyer, RCN contributor

Top photo: Don Stegman, from Cardinal Engineering, and Jeff Wilmink look at an aerial picture of the property with the flag lots highlighted.