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Independence OKs Zoning Change from Commercial to Residential

A plot of land off Richardson Road in Independence will be rezoned from commercial to residential after much debate by Independence City Council.

The lot, located directly east of Beechgrove Self-Storage, currently has five homes in it that were built before the zoning of the area had been changed to be a commercial lot.

It wasn’t until one of the homeowners applied for a building permit to place an addition on their home that the zoning became an issue.

“As a residential use, that use is nonconforming to the land,” said Rob Himes, of Planning and Development Services of Kenton County (PDS). “The Independence zoning ordinance says a nonconforming use cannot be expanded or enlarged.”

Council member Pat Taney objected to the change because she worried that the land could be purchased at a later date for commercial use, turning more of a profit for the city.

However, Mayor Chris Reinersman argued that the land had already been on the market for over a year and never sold.

Ben Heuser said that he has tried to sell the land behind his home to the storage facility, but after extensive research, it became clear that it wouldn’t be profitable or reasonable for the facility to expand onto the hilly terrain.

According to Reinersman, who also has worked in real estate for several years, the area is not conducive to commercial use because of its terrain and a small lake in the middle, adding that it would cost nearly $500,000 to level the land alone.

Taney asked that the vote be held off until the August 28 special meeting when all council members would be present, but the motion was rejected and the council voted 2-2 on the zoning change, meaning the change will happen.

Other notes:

Bob Reese, a representative for Duke Energy, was also present at the meeting to inform the council and residents on the installation of their Smart Meters.

Currently, many homes in Northern Kentucky require a person to go into homes each month to get readings for the energy being used. The new Smart Meters will automatically send each home’s energy usage to Duke, eliminating the need for someone to read meters monthly.

Homeowners will also be able to check online and view their usage hourly.

Smart Meters being installed will also allow Duke to remotely turn electric on and off for homes when people move.

Users can opt out of receiving a new Smart Meter, but they will have to pay a monthly fee for someone to come out to their home and read the meter.

Duke plans to have all Smart Meters installed by the end of September 2018.

Written by Carrie Crotzer, RCN contributor

Image via PDS