Dayton Seeks to Add More Space for New Businesses
Kentucky Route 8, as it snakes along the Ohio River, has seen transformation across the Northern Kentucky River Cities and their historic business districts. In Dayton, where the state route is known as Sixth Avenue, there is currently too much of a good thing.
And not enough ready space to accommodate the demand for commercial opportunities.
On Tuesday night, at a special meeting of city council, city leaders took action to address a couple of zoning issues that they believe will create more available spaces and a friendlier environment for some existing businesses. They also discussed the forthcoming disruption to traffic when Fairfield Avenue - as KY 8 is known in neighboring Bellevue - is closed for several weeks starting next month.
A lack of space
"With all the new businesses that have opened in the past couple of months, we have one commercial building for sale on the MLS and currently no spaces for rent," said Bob Yoder, Dayton's main street manager.
In recent months, the city has welcomed Trotta's Steak & Seafood and Hometown Heroes as new restaurants on the Avenue, joining the previously established Purple Poulet and Kate's Catering.
A handful of retail shops have moved into town.
But more are knocking on the door - attracted to the city's Commercial Community Advantage Program (CCAP) which offers incentives in the form of subsidies for build-out, facade, and rent - and there is nowhere to put them.
A zoning amendment approved on Tuesday aims to change that. Buildings located in a single-family zone in the historic district (Sixth Avenue from O'Fallon Avenue to Main Street) and within 100 feet from KY 8 intersections now have more commercial opportunities. "Presently they have limited conditional business use. The zone change would give them several more permitted uses beyond just single-family use," City Administrator Michael Giffen said.
"With the new zoning Dayton will have more commercial buildings available for businesses,” Yoder added.
Some of the possible uses include clothing stores, craft shops, art studios, barbers, bakeries, coffeehouses, florists, delis, sporting goods, and fitness locations, among others.
A new tattoo shop will soon open at the former Tina's Tanning location.
Drinking and dancing outside now permitted
Council also approved a change to an archaic piece of the zoning code that prevented live music, dancing, and drinking in open air spaces.
Some of the new restaurants, in particular, asked for the change.
The zone change was declared an emergency on Tuesday night so that it could be adopted without need for another special meeting and to expedite the change so that businesses could capitalize on it during the July 4 holiday.
Though the change passed unanimously, the vote to declare the ordinance an emergency was voted against by Councilman Bill Burns. "I think we just stretched the law a bit too far," he said. He added, "We should put some clarification in about times. I'm not concerned about a couple of locations, but I am concerned about other locations in the city of Dayton (that) I don't think we've looked at."
Preparing for traffic disruption
When Sanitation District 1 continues its project, separating a storm water and sanitation pipe into two pipes along Taylor Avenue, and shuts down Fairfield Avenue at that intersection in Bellevue, Dayton will be affected, too.
Detour routes have not yet been finalized.
"It disturbs me that they have not thought about the City of Dayton at all," Burns said. "How you're gonna get (TANK number) 12 buses, to the gas station, the trucks, and if they're gonna give us an answer, I think they should give us an answer now."
Council members Joe Neary and Ben Baker offered an optimistic tone.
"A lot of folks will be going through Dayton and through Dayton Pike, through Fort Thomas, so it's as good a time as ever to see our places, too," Baker said. "It's a good time for Dayton to shine for people who don't see us usually."
Council adopts budget
The City of Dayton adopted its $5.8 million budget at Tuesday night's special meeting.
The funds include an additional police officer, bringing the department's roster to 11 officer.
A 20 percent match for a grant to be used for the city's portion of Riverfront Commons, the multi-use path that will connect Northern Kentucky's River Cities, is included, too.
Additionally, the budget includes $100,000 for ornamental lighting along Sixth Avenue.
Written by Michael Monks, editor & publisher
Photo: Sixth Avenue in Dayton (RCN)