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Ft. Wright to Update Snow Emergency Ordinance, Explore More Lights on KY 17, Orphanage

Ft. Wright City Council took the first step towards changing the city's snow emergency ordinance which has been in place for a number of years. 
"I hate this whole snow emergency thing," Mayor Dave Hatter began the discussion by stating. "My gut reaction is that they would have to be predicting white doom for me to declare the emergency. But it happens, and there are all kinds of reasons why we have to do it. I don't want to have this discussion in a special meeting because it isn't an emergency to change the ordinance, but it is old and we are repealing the existing law for safety and costs. I want this all above board so people can hear the discussions."
One of the changes is that the residents of the city should know that a snow emergency exists if the snow accumulation is 3 inches or more, even if the emergency is not formally declared. The emergency can be declared with less than 3 inches, but people should assume there is a snow emergency if there are 3 inches of snow. As Councilman Dave Abelin said, people assume that the city will clear the streets if there is snow and ice, and they should also assume they should move their cars off the street if there is a snow emergency or if there are three or more inches of snow.
In the end, some changes were made to the revised ordinance. If the emergency is declared during the hours between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., residents have until 9 a.m. to move their cars. If the vehicle receives a citation, residents have seven days to come to the city building and pay the fine. In the new ordinance, towing and storage fees are passed on to the resident, and the city only charges for the citation.
"For the first snow, we will take a velvet glove approach," said Mayor Hatter. "These are our neighbors. We will take a light approach and use every available channel to get the word out to them."
Council voted on the first reading of the ordinance, which includes the changes. The second reading will be in February.
In other news from Wednesday night's meeting, council passed the second reading of an ordinance that amends sections of the city's zoning ordinance to allow for LED lighting on non-residential buildings in several zones. Izzy's restaurant asked to be allowed to have a single line of accent lighting, and that request led to the allowance of a single strand of LED lighting on three sides of the building, which cannot glare or have animation.
Council discussed a request by developer James Berling, who is developing four lots on Pickett Drive, to waive the requirement to have to install sidewalks in front of the buildings. There are no sidewalks on the street, so a short sidewalk would be a sidewalk to nowhere, he said. Council agreed to waive the requirement for this unique situation.
A discussion was held about the road slippage on Ft. Henry Drive, which is getting worse all the time. City Administrator Ed Butler applied to the state for emergency road aid fund and received word that the state will provide $40,000 for the project which will cost about $174,000 in total. Still, both Butler and Hatter were of the opinion that it would be $40,000 that they wouldn't have to come up with, and the problem is getting worse, and the worse it gets the more expensive it will be to fix it. On the recommendation of both Butler and Hatter, council voted to give the mayor the authority to accept the road aid funds.
Council passed a resolution to allow Mayor Hatter to enter into an agreement with the state transportation department for the design phase of the Amsterdam Road project from Redwood Drive to General Drive. Each phase of the project has to have a separate agreement. The design part will cost $312,000.
Council discussed putting more street lights on KY 17 from Kyles Lane to Dudley Road, and on Orphanage Road. The idea was inspired by a resident's suggestion. Some of the council members wanted to look at the area themselves, so the matter was tabled until next month.
Written by Patricia A. Scheyer, RCN contributor