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Chick-fil-A's Hope for Taller Sign in Ft. Wright Denied

Chick-fil-A asked the City of Ft. Wright for permission to erect a taller sign, and on Wednesday night, Mayor Dave Hatter denied that request.
The popular chicken restaurant, which opened in October to much fanfare, received an unfavorable review from Planning & Development Services, which recommended against the taller sign. Hatter sought input from the five council members present at Wednesday's meeting. 
"They have made every argument," said Tim Maloney, public works director. "The other signs along Orphanage and 17 have been down there twenty-five years. But if you don't hold the line somewhere... unfortunately, theirs will appear smaller short term."
Councilman Bernie Wessels agreed.
"We have the rules for a reason," he said. "If we approve this for one, we will open up  this box, and it will affect a lot of things. If we go in that direction, we should study all of it."
City Attorney Todd McMurtry said that the company has cited extraordinary circumstances, but he does not see that as the case. He explained that if the city were to grant the amendment for Chic-fil-A, it could open the city to claims of being arbitrary or discriminatory to other companies.
"We have to try to be as consistent as we can," said Mayor Hatter. "If we say yes to them, we have to be willing to say yes to other companies. But it is not as if they didn't know about the rules when they signed up. So I guess I am saying, no, and then if we want to go back and revisit the sign issue and study it for the future to possibly allow holistic changes to allow the sign, we can do that."
In other business, council approved an ordinance authorizing a rezoning of 1.5 acres on the east side of Madison Pike, located between Highland Pike and Lakeview Drive from IP (Industrial Park) to CC (Community Commercial) to accommodate O'Reilly Auto Parts. However, McMurtry asked council to make a motion to amend the ordinance because of concerns that repairs should be limited to the back of the building. Council agreed.
Council listened to the first reading of an ordinance amending several sections of the city's zoning ordinance to allow for LED accent lighting on non-residential buildings in various zones at places like professional office buildings and shopping centers. The lighting is not permitted to emit glare for other streets.
An executive order re-appointed Tom Litzler to the TBNK Board for the term of January 1, 2017 to December 31, 2018. Another executive order  appointed Councilman Bernie Wessels to the OKI Board for the term beginning January 1, 2017.
Council discussed the Request for Qualifications to be issued for the redesign of Amsterdam Road from Redwood to General Drive. City Administrator Ed Butler said that the RFQ will hopefully attract engineering firms to submit their qualifications for the project which will be accomplished with the help of an 80/20 SNK federal grant through OKI. Realistically, Butler said they hope to have the $3.1 million project under way by the year 2020. He said the city's share of the project will be around $627,000.
Butler also told council about the grand opening Wednesday morning of the new automotive programs section of Gateway, located at the old Robke Chevrolet site on 17. He also said that the new Von Lehman location will have its grand opening on January 12.
Police Chief Dan Kreinest announced that the Cops and Kids event will happen December 13. Mayor Hatter told the audience that if they were going out of town, they should stop by the city building for a form that allows the police to watch over their residence, saying that it costs nothing. Hatter also told the audience that if there is a snowstorm, people need to assume there will be a snow emergency in the city, and to get their cars off the street.
"It is just that simple," Hatter said. The police chief said a ticket could run around $25, so people need to be aware of the rules of the snow emergency.
Senator Chris McDaniel (R-Taylor Mill) came to the meeting to administer the oath of office to the five council members present at the meeting. All six members were reelected in November without opposition.
The caucus meeting scheduled for December 21 was canceled, so the next meeting will be January 4.
Written by Patricia A. Scheyer, RCN contributor
Photo: Chick-fil-A celebrates its grand opening in Ft. Wright (RCN file)
Slideshow Images & Captions: 
Sen. Chris McDaniel administers the Oath of Office for Ft. Wright City Council