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Erlanger Council Moves to Approve Drees Development

A special meeting of the Erlanger city council this week featured the first reading of an ordinance changing the zoning of 70 acres known as List Farm to a residential cluster.

The farm is located off Turkeyfoot and Narrows Roads.

City administrator Matthew Kremer created a report and asked police chief Todd Brendel to address the traffic expected to be related to the development. Brendel said there had been two collisions on Narrows Road since January 2015. 4,462 vehicles use the road each day at an average speed of 35 miles per hours, he said.

Fire Chief Todd Whitaker told the public gathered at the meeting that there are several dead-end streets in Erlanger, and so if there are any added to the planned subdivision that Drees is placing on the List Farm site, they will be nothing new to the department. Whitaker also said that he knows that residents are concerned that the proposed homes are too close together and could cause a large fire if any one of them were to catch fire. The chief said fire trucks would be able to respond quickly enough to ensure that that didn't happen.

Economic development director David Hahn then reported about the timetable, saying that there is currently only a stage-one conceptual plan, and the next step will be the stage-two plan which will go to Planning & Development Services for review. The city will enforce the conditions of the plan as it is signed, and the Kentucky building code will be followed with all the structures, which will be inspected six times.

Image via PDS

Mayor Tyson Hermes then opened the floor to the council members.

"This is going to affect (the residents) drastically," Patty Suedkamp said. "There is no pristine land anymore. Traffic is always an issue, it's the nature of the beast. We all lost sleep over this, I promise you. We have to do what is best for Erlanger."

Vicki Kyle echoed these sentiments.

"Development is coming, we can't stop it," she added. "Drees has made mistakes in the past, but they want to do good. We have to take the big picture of Erlanger."

Tom Cahill brought up the matter of the mailboxes that are located across the street from the homes, and Kremer said he has already addressed the issue with the post office, and they are trying to come up with a solution.

Finally the residents were able to speak.

Kimberley Needham said she wants stop signs, particularly a four-way one by the curve in the road. She would like the city to reduce the speed limit from 35 to 30. She also requested an easement because she and her neighbors use a septic system rather than the city sewers, and would like to be able to convert if given the chance.

Ben Taylor, land acquisition manager at Drees, explained that there will be a small sewer pump station in between two streets, because the area will need it, and it will be minimal and tucked down in the common area.

Though the Kenton County Planning Commission had rejected the development plan, some members of council were encouraged that some issues cited at that time had been addressed sufficiently. Council members said that they feel better about this development because they have some control over what goes in, and Drees is working well with them. 

All twelve council members voted to overrule the planning commission's rejection. A second reading - where the ordinance could be adopted - will take place March 6.

Written by Patricia A. Scheyer, RCN contributor