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Erlanger Votes No on Airbnb Rentals, Debates "Friendship City" Flags

In a busy meeting of the Erlanger city council, the city decided to join the cities of Ft. Wright, Taylor Mill, and Independence in a lawsuit to separate the pension systems for local workers and state workers.
In a 6 to 5 vote, council decided not to allow economic development director Dave Hahn to seek a text amendment from the Kenton County Planning Commission to allow peer-to-peer short term rentals, which commonly refers to companies like Airbnb where property owners can list their homes or rooms for rent with a daily rate like hotels.
Cities across the country have struggled with how to regulate the popular travel option.
Council members Patty Suedkamp, Renee Skidmore, Don Skidmore, Vicki Kyle, Don Nicely, and Steve Montgomery voted against the measure.
In another zoning-related matter, council voted to instruct city attorney Jack Gatlin to draft an ordinance allowing child care centers in strip malls as an approved use for Stephenson Road.
Friendship City motto questioned
City Administrator Matthew Kremer asked whether the motto "Friendship City" should be on the new city flags that were about to be ordered, or if they should simply display the newly adopted city logo.
Councilwoman Patty Suedkamp said that she was very frustrated with the inaction and the prospect of discussing this issue yet again.
"I will make the motion to kill the 'Friendship City', " she said, drawing laughter.
But there was no second to the motion so the issue goes back to committee.
Police Chief announces retirement
Police Chief Tony Wilson officially announced his retirement at the same meeting. He said that he had been through four mayors during his twenty-five years with the city, the last two as chief.
"I never dreamed I'd be here 25 years," Wilson said. "I want to thank everybody. Erlanger is a special place to work. I am going to miss you."
Todd Brendel was hired as Wilson's replacement.
Incentives, development area approved
Council added a new payroll tax incentive package for the development of jobs in the city, which some called "cutting edge" and "progressive".
Council also created the Houston Road/Erlanger Road Development area. 
A special fund would be established for payment of project costs, and redevelopment assistance. As the agency responsible for oversight, administration and implementation of the area, the mayor and other officials will be authorized to take appropriate actions that are required for the establishment of the development of the area.
Other notes:
Council listened to the first reading of an ordinance regulating the  discharge of firearms and use of other projectile weapons in all densely populated areas within the city of Erlanger. Certain language was changed specifying the types of projectile weapons, and commercial companies that have businesses such as shooting ranges are exempt, as are police.
The city will change its impound fees from $75 to $25.
City Engineer Jim Viox reported on phase one of the city sidewalk project, saying that the city received its bids, and the lowest one was JPS Construction at $80,905.40. Council accepted the bid. Viox also said that since the amount was well under the estimated amount, they could extend the unit prices into zone two.
Kevin Quinn, a resident whose father lives on Hope lane, came to thank firefighters who helped when his mother brought his father to the firehouse because his father was having breathing difficulty.
J.D. Chaney, deputy director of the Kentucky League of Cities, came to the meeting to award State Representative Adam Koenig with the 2017 Friend of Kentucky Cities honor for his efforts in promoting legislation for Kentucky cities.
Mayor Tyson Hermes declared November 8 as Jo Francis Martin day in the city. Martin has helped many formerly incarcerated individuals to remove tattoo ink so that they can have a better shot at getting jobs and leading successful lives. She has also tutored many individuals in jail.
Mayor Hermes also declared Saturday, November 25, Small Business Saturday in the city.
Written by Patricia A. Scheyer, RCN contributor
Top photo: Chief Tony Wilson accepts his 25-year pin from city administrator Matt Kremer (RCN)