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City: Board Lacks Authority to Approve Change to Proposed Development

A board of adjustment meeting at the City of Bellevue related to a proposed apartment development has been canceled.

Late last month it was reported that the sprawling Kent Building at 239 Grandview Avenue was targeted as a new apartment project for Covington-based Orleans Development.

The proposal led to the distribution of flyers in the nearby neighborhood with some expressing concern that the project was slated to become subsidized, section-8 housing.

Orleans's proposal to create 66 apartment units in the 87,000-sq. ft. structure - which is listed for sale at $1.2 million currently - was to appear before the board of adjustment on Tuesday night. The developer would need a zoning variance because the number of proposed units exceeds the amount permissible on a 1-acre site.

The City of Bellevue, which last month pushed back against the speculation on section-8 housing, later noted that the meeting was canceled. 

Turns out, the board of adjustment in Bellevue does not possess the authority to grant such changes to developers in the zone in question (noted in the city zoning code as "T5"). In a notice posted to its website, the city called the situation a "zoning administrative oversight".

City Administrator Keith Spoelker told The River City News on Tuesday that if Orleans Development wishes to pursue the needed changes, it would have to ask to appear before the city's planning and zoning commission. Spoelker said that that could happen as early as the end of September.

A representative from Orleans Development told The River City News on Tuesday that the firm is still doing its due diligence on the project.

Orleans has emerged as a prolific developer in the Northern Kentucky River Cities, with much of its efforts focused in Covington where it produced the lauded Boone Block Lofts, Pike Star Lofts (with the Center for Great Neighborhoods), and the Market Lofts, and where it is in the process of developing the Madison Flats on Madison Avenue, and a new project on Greenup Street. All are either high-end condos or market-rate rentals.

The City of Bellevue said previously that Orleans has informed city officials that the target market for the proposed development at the Kent Building is professionals.

Last year, The River City News included the Kent Building on its list of 9 buildings in the Northern Kentucky river cities that should be restored.

-Michael Monks, editor & publisher

Photo: Kent Building in Bellevue (RCN file)